A new sign hand-crafted and installed by a member of the Wilton Congregational Church last month now marks Sharp Hill Cemetery, the historic burial plot established beside the sanctuary in 1738, at the intersection of Route 7 and Sharp Hill Road.
Ian Tesar, who has lived in Wilton for 43 years and has attended services at the church for 25, had already donated two signs when he was asked to design a third in the same style. The first marked the church building and the second marked the non-sectarian Hillside Cemetery, owned and operated by Wilton Congregational.
The painted-white wooden sign, with black vinyl lettering and suspended by a welded steel bracket, may be seen from northbound Route 7 perched atop the high rock wall that borders the property. It reads Sharp Hill Cemetery, 1738, Wilton Congregational Church, and is identical in size, shape, and style to Tesar’s previous donations.
According to Tesar, the signs were designed to appear compositionally organic so not to conflict with the natural beauty of the historic locations they identify.
Also among Tesar’s work is an eight-foot-tall wooden cross built at the request of the pastor with support beams taken from his own 145-year-old barn. The cross has been used for two Easter sunrise services, a Good Friday service, and in the church’s outdoor chapel behind the Wilton Playshop. It is kept at the top of Hillside Cemetery.
“I thought the historic materials would convey a historic character,” Tesar said when asked about his choice of material.
Tesar worked as an industrial designer before he retired. Today, he continues to practice machining and woodworking.
“My father was my main influence; I learned by watching him. He was a professional artist,” Tesar said at his home workshop on Millstone Road.