The Brill Cemetery is located behind a Saratoga Bridges facility at 690 Route 9, just north of Waller Road.
Last year, Saratoga Bridges acquired a small piece of cemetery property to build a pavilion for its clients.
The cemetery, which dates to the mid-1800s, only has two headstones marking the graves of Hanna and James Brill. To maintain the site’s boundary, town Historian Jeannine Woutersz suggested that the cemetery should be enclosed by restoring an old iron fence.
However, much of what remained of the fence was badly deteriorated.
With support from the town, Woutersz contacted miChelle Vara at the Ballard Road Art Studio about handling the project.
Vara and her partner, Chad Wilson, collected the metal pieces and attempted to find pictures or documentation about what the gate would have looked like in its original condition.
That produced no results, but Vara found clues unearthed from the site, including evidence of small rosettes in the original pattern. But they, too, were extremely deteriorated.
However, she is a metal collector and had rosettes from a bed frame made in the early 19th century. So with a few tricks of her trade, welding and reworking the metals, she restored the fence gate and posts, using some original material and pieces she fashioned based on the original pattern.
Enclosing the entire cemetery would have been too big a project. But the restored gate was installed last week, serving as an historical marker and a reminder about the small cemetery’s presence.
“To have the town save that is monumental and important,” Vara said. “It’s great to see somebody local that really cares.”
The town funded part of the project. However, Vara and Wilson donated considerable time and talent.
Woutersz said the Brill family came to the Wilton area in 1813. They built a brick homestead, planted orchards and prospered on surrounding farmland.
The Brill property was sold to Charles A. Waller in 1900 and was used as a dairy farm until 1945, when it was sold to Don Pepper and became part of the former Pepper’s Turkey Farm.
The old brick house still stands.
“It could tell some wonderful tales,” Woutersz said. “Let’s hope it survives another 100 years.”