Memorial repair

Repairs to memorial under way Civil War monument in Atwater struck by driver


L-R: David Delphia owner of D & C Renovations out of Ravenna, with father Raymond Delphia and Larry Luzader

By Diane Smith

Record-Courier staff writer

ATWATER — As the rain fell one recent day, David Delphia evaluated the massive project before him.

He and his employees at D&C Renovations had just spent several days picking up the pieces of the township’s Civil War memorial, cleaning it up, and then undergoing the painstaking process of putting it back together again.

“We’ve been hauling tail on it,” he said.

In March, a car smashed the memorial, located at the Atwater Cemetery on S.R. 183. It was dedicated in June 1950 to the memory of Atwater resident John Grate, the last surviving Civil War veteran in Ohio.

The project is expected to be done some time this week, weather permitting.

“The weather has to be above 70 degrees and dry for the epoxy to hold,” he said.

Tim Whittlesey of the township’s road crew had helped Delphia and his men by picking up the pieces of the monument with his backhoe. The crew picked up the pieces and sanded them to restore the memorial to its original color.

The shavings from the sanding were saved and will be mixed with the epoxy to fill in the damaged area, including a large crack across the surface of the monument.

When the project is finished, he said, a careful observer may only see a faint hint of the crack that is so prominent now, he said.

“It’s stronger now than it was before,” Delphia said.

Bonstone Materials, the Washington company that manufactures the epoxy Delphia uses, donated $2,500 worth of materials for the project.

Delphia, a history buff, said his company has done a lot of historic preservation projects.

“This one is just on a little larger scale,” he said.

James Conley, an Atwater Township Trustee, admired the work as he stopped out to check the progress of the project.

He said the township is planning a celebration Oct. 10 and 11 when the memorial is rededicated.

“I think once it gets done, it will be all right,” he said.

Work begins on restoration of monument in Atwater Twp.

Company volunteers to repair monument

By Jim Carney
Beacon Journal staff writer

Volunteer David Delphia, owner of D&C Restoration of Ravenna, drills holes for steel pins to repair the Civil War monument damaged by an auto accident at the cemetery next to the Atwater Township Hall on Monday in Atwater. (Paul Tople/Akron Beacon Journal)

ATWATER TWP.: The broken Civil War monument is being put back together — again.

Volunteers from D&C Renovations of Ravenna are working at the Atwater Memorial Cemetery on state Route 183, rebuilding a monument to Ohio’s last veteran of the Civil War and the more than 49,000 other Ohioans who fought in the conflict.

The monument was broken into seven pieces this year when it was hit by an uninsured motorist.

Dave Delphia, owner of D&C Renovations, has donated his company’s services to repair the monument.

Delphia, 34, of Ravenna, said he wanted to give his work to the community because ”it felt right.”

He estimated it might have cost the township $25,000 to
$30,000 to pay someone to do the job.

The work started Friday and Delphia expects it to wrap up this week.

The monument honors Atwater resident John Henry Grate, who died several weeks shy of his 104th birthday in June 1949. He was the state’s last Grand Army of the Republic veteran.

The monument was dedicated in 1950 and is owned by the Ohio Chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans and the group’s auxiliary.

A rededication of the monument is expected to be held in October.

Delphia said that along with fixing the monument, which includes a 7-foot-high main piece and two marble corbels that weigh up to 4,000 pounds each, he is cleaning the surface of the memorial so it looks brand new.

When he first inspected the monument, he was thrilled that a marble eagle at the top of the main piece was not damaged.

Volunteers Leon West and Larry Luzader, both of Ravenna, assisted Delphia on Monday, as did township employee Tim Whittlesey.

Meanwhile, in Deerfield, where a Civil War monument was also damaged in a traffic accident in March at the Deerfield Circle, Trustee Mike Rach said the township has not yet decided whether to repair or replace the monument.

He said this past weekend, there was another traffic accident on the circle, but the vehicle hit a tree and did not disturb what is left of the Deerfield monument.

The Deerfield monument was the second replacement of the original memorial erected in 1870. That monument was knocked down in the 1970s and replaced in 1975, and then the replaced monument was knocked down and replaced in 2002 at a cost of $75,000.

Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or

Repair of the Monument begins

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A special thank you goes out to D & C Renovations

for repairing the monument!


March 25, 2009

Ohio county loses 2 Civil War monuments to crashes

DEERFIELD, Ohio (AP) — Civil War memorials are under attack from traffic in one Ohio county, where two monuments have been knocked down by vehicles this month.

Portage County authorities say a Civil War memorial that has already been replaced twice was struck by a truck Saturday on the central circle in Deerfield, 45 miles southeast of Cleveland.

The monument to those who fought in the Civil War first went up in 1870 and was rebuilt after crashes in 1975 and 2002. Deerfield trustee Mike Rach says the memorial belongs on the circle and should be restored again.

Earlier in March, a car toppled a Civil War memorial dedicated in 1950 in Atwater Township, six miles from Deerfield. Township officials are still deciding how to proceed.

Atwater Civil War monument toppled by errant driver to be rebuilt

By Colin McEwen

Record-Courier staff writer


John Grate, Ohio’s last surviving Civil War veteran, was a longtime Atwater resident. He died in 1949 at 103 and the community’s Civil War monument was dedicated in his honor the following year.

ATWATER — The Civil War marker that lays in ruin in the Atwater Cemetery will have a new life soon, thanks to a gift from an area business.

The 60-year-old monument, dedicated to the last surviving Civil War veteran in Ohio, was destroyed last month when an uninsured driver crashed into it.

Atwater Township Fiscal Officer Rebecca Bennett said a “local contractor from Ravenna” will repair the monument free of charge, with work scheduled to begin April 20. The company wishes to remain anonymous, she added.

“I’m ecstatic about it,” Bennett said. “I’m very excited, and so are the other residents in town, to preserve the honor of John Grate.”

Grate, Ohio’s last surviving Civil War veteran, died in Atwater on June 7, 1949, at the age of 103. The memorial was dedicated a little more than one year later by the Ohio Department of the Sons of the Union Veterans. It honored Grate and his 40,010 Ohio comrades who served in the war.

When erected, the monument stood nearly six feet tall and was between six and eight feet wide.

Prior to the gift announcement, the township sought out estimates that ranged from $3,900 to $34,200 for repairs and $25,800 to $40,625 for replacement.

“We’ve been assured we will not even see a crack,” said Bennett. “It’s just fabulous.”

Fund-raising started with the Sons of the Union Veterans and the Auxiliary of the Sons of the Union Veterans back in 1949. Those organizations still co-own the monument.

Nancy Greenwalt Hilton, who is the president of the Auxiliary of the Sons of the Union Veterans, said the groups were thrilled to learn of the heavy burden lifted from their shoulders.

“We couldn’t have paid for it,” she said.

“We are beyond excited.”

The Atwater Lions Club and the Atwater Historical Society are working with the Civil War organizations to plan a dedication ceremony for Oct. 10 to coincide with the tentatively titled “Great Day” event to honor Civil War veterans.

“We didn’t even realize the significance of the John Grate Memorial,” said Danny Derreberry, an Atwater Township Trustee. “We are now finding out about that. It’s been a good wake-up call for Atwater.”


Donor to fix damaged monument

By Jim Carney

Beacon Journal staff writer

ATWATER TWP.: An anonymous donor will fix the broken Civil War monument here for free.

Township Fiscal Officer Rebecca Bennett said a man who heads an area restoration company has agreed to fix the marble monument, which was damaged when a vehicle was driven into it last month.

After the repairs are done, township officials plan to host a Civil War period event as part of a rededication ceremony.

Bennett said the monument is owned by the Ohio chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans and the group’s auxiliary. Both have accepted the donor’s offer to make the repairs.

The monument was dedicated in 1950 to more than 49,000 Ohioans who fought in the Civil War. The monument also specifically honors Atwater resident John Henry Grate, the state’s last Grand Army of the Republic veteran, who died in 1949 at the age of 103. Grate, and his wife, Laura, are buried at the cemetery.

The monument is at the front of the Atwater Memorial Cemetery on state Route 183. It was damaged when an uninsured motorist drove into it on March 4.

The repair work is to begin April 20, weather permitting. The rededication is planned for Oct. 10, a Saturday, Bennett said.

”We are planning a Grate Day celebration with a rededication of the John Grate Memorial stone with Civil War time period events to be planned,” she said.

Nancy Greenwalt Hilton, 55, the Ohio president of the auxiliary and a native of Alliance, called the anonymous donor’s offer to fix the monument ”a godsend” because the estimated repair bill ”was astronomical.”

The cheapest estimate was $39,000, said Hilton, a teacher who now lives in Hampton, Va.

Bringing the monument back to life is important, she said, ”because we only learn from history.”

The rededication is planned for October because Hilton will be honored at a reception the next day, Oct 11, in Alliance, by her state group. She will take over as president of the national group in August.

On March 21, a second Civil War monument in Portage County was damaged in a traffic accident in Deerfield Township on U.S. 224 at Deerfield Circle.

Deerfield trustees are expected to discuss seeking bids to repair or replace the monument at a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Trustee Mike Rach said.

Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or


  1. D & C Renovations are scam artists. They showed me this article and it made them sound like good people but don’t be fooled. They will take your money and they won’t do the work. Look them up with the Portage County Prosecutor or just do a general background check. You will see how many times they have been sued and that the owner has two liens against his home because of his shady business. Beware this wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  2. Thanks for this! I’ve been searching all over the web for the data.

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