Cemetery Visits 

 

 

PICTORIAL PAGES

Click on a category below to see illustrative pictures.  Each category has a brief introduction to the topic, and each picture is identified by location. (Please understand that some pictures might fit under more than one category, but we did not want to duplicate.)

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Medal of Honor

Metal Fences and Gates

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Symbols & Traditions

Tombstones with Stories/Epitaphs

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Cemeteries are often interesting, beautiful, and fun places   to visit.

What?! Interesting, maybe, but beautiful and fun -- those spooky, creepy places full of dead people?

Yes! Cemeteries are not what you see in the scary movies or on TV around Halloween. They are not filled with ghosts, zombies, and voodoo. They are, however, filled with folklore, history, gorgeous art and design, and great stories. Some have lovely gardens or parks as their settings.

Beginning in 1831 with Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA, the garden cemetery became popular and served as a bit of country scenery within cities. In effect, they were the first parks. Today, they still function as a place to enjoy nature, take a walk or a bike ride, or sketch an amazing memorial or statue.

Of course, the large cemetery parks are few and in major cities. The typical cemetery, often in a pleasant setting of trees and shrubbery, is usually a "monumental" cemetery, meaning that it has vertical tombstones. These can be hard to maintain because of the difficulty in mowing around the headstones and the deterioration of the markers if there is no perpetual care. The different sizes and styles can appear to be an unattractive jumble.

There are "lawn" cemeteries where only small, flat markers are allowed across expanses of grass. While this style is popular with some people because of its simplicity and uniformity, these cemeteries are not of interest here. A small marker with only a name and birth/death dates does not tell a story. Uniformity does not allow for creative epitaphs or headstone designs or historical memorials or beautiful statues.

In other words, while lawn cemeteries are efficient, easy-care, and practical, they are also dull and do not contribute to the preservation of history and culture as other cemeteries do, even if monumental cemeteries are an eclectic mess in some eyes.

For more detail on cemetery types, management, and practice, go to https//en.wiipedia.org/wiki/Cemetery

NOTE:

There are many more photos to come on our pictorial pages.

Please send us your pictures so that we can add them in too. Submit them to:

We also have recommendations for  related books, articles, and websites (see right).

Coming soon is a lesson plan for teaching creative writing, history, art, sociology, or folklore through a cemetery; it will be adaptable to virtually every age level.

Also coming soon is a set of instructions that you can print out for a scavenger hunt in a cemetery. Players will look for various symbols, types of tombstones, historical figures, statues, and the like. It's a fun way to engage children (or adults!) in a teachable moment.

We look forward to your comments and suggestions. Submit them to:

Watch us grow as we continue to add more material!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links of Interest

www.green-wood.com Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY. A National Historic Landmark, the staff gives regular tours and lots of specialty theme tours (for example: a tour to the graves of famous famous baseball players buried at Green-Wood to coincide with the World Series). Green-Wood also sends out an e-newsletter to announce activities and describe preservation efforts. 

https://thelaurelhillcemetery.org Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA. A National Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places, this cemetery hosts event tours and lectures weekly as well as self-guided and private tours, ghost hunts, and education programs. Speakers for off-site events are also available.

www.oaklandcemetery.com Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, GA. On the National Register of Historic Places, this cemetery provides both guided overview and special topics tours, a program for homeschoolers, and a speakers bureau. There is a visitor's center and shop on site.

NOTE: There are 115 National Cemeteries (Veterans Administration cemeteries) that are National Historic Landmarks and on the National Register of Historic Places.

www.TuiSnider.com Tui Snider is an author, speaker, and photographer with an interest in cemeteries. You can download a guide to cemetery symbolism from her web site.

Books on Cemeteries and Related Matters

Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (2004) by Douglas Keister.

Cemeteries (Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks) (2010) by Keith Eggener. [An exploration of the cemetery in American landscape and narrative.]

The Archaeology of American Cemeteries and Gravemarkers (2016) by Sherene Baugher and Richard Veit. [An overview of archaeological work on American gravestones and cemeteries.]

Cemeteries and Gravemarkers: Voices of American Culture (1992) by Richard Meyer.

Rest in Pieces (2013) by Bess Lovejoy.[These are fascinating, factual stories about how various body parts of famous people have been desecrated, revered, and transported around the world thus  revealing cultural attitudes and a different sort of life after death.]

 

Articles of Interest

"A Grave Matter" by Terry Riccardi in Mensa Bulletin, Feb. 2016, p. 47.  A reflection on a cathartic visit to the graves of relatives.

"In the Garden Cemetery: The Revival of America's First Urban Parks" The history of the great garden cemeteries and how they are finding new purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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