Sunday, November 04, 2007

Address At The Heavenly End

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then this weekend I've caught up on months worth of posts. I hope you don't mind a few more.

I love cemeteries. Either you love them too, or you think I'm weird. There isn't much in between. I've always found them to be peaceful and fascinating places. Back in Utah I used to take friends around on cemetery tours in the fall and tell stories about all the interesting people. Now that I've moved I'm cut off from the familiar names and traditions I know. Near my home in Denver is a large cemetery named Fairmount, and last week I spent an afternoon wandering through. Apparently it's a popular thing to do because there were many others walking or biking along the lanes. There was even a group of people sitting next to a grave playing the guitar and singing.

I was also joined by a bus from a retirement center. The bus slowly drove around and stopped in front of a monument. Then a minute later it would drive around the corner and stop again. No one ever got off, but it slowly made the rounds as each person inside must have had a turn giving directions.


It was a beautiful fall afternoon. The weather was perfect.


According to the Fairmount's website, the 285 acres was opened in 1890.

Designed by German landscape architect, Reinhard Schuetze, the layout incorporates sweeping vistas in broad curved lanes thus creating a beautiful and serene park like setting.
Brett, is this the type of work you want to do?

It does, indeed, have sweeping vistas and some very curious monuments. There is also a different section for every religion and affiliation you can think of. There is a section of physicians, of veterans, of Catholics, of Greeks, of Jews, of Elks. If you belonged to it, you could be buried among it. Here are a few of the more interesting things I came across.

Most unusual monuments, in a contemporary art sort of way.


The inscription ad astra per aspera is Latin for "through adversity to the stars".



(The white building in the back is the mausoleum. It's huge!)

Best Nick-Names


Furthest Distance Travelled to be Here


Most Melodramatic Carved Image


Most Apropos Decoration


Idea I'm most likely to steal


Most "Colorado"


If this were Utah it would be red rock.

Most Cliche, but Still Touching


Coolest Headstone Calligraphy



Accompanied by
The Most Poetically Over-wrought Inscription


It's a little hard to read but it's by Tennyson.
"Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
and slips into the bosom of the lake."
Most Appropriate Landscaping


Loveliest Carving



Best Name - Ever!


Most Intriguing Offerings


At the base of the candle is a pile of coins. Does anyone know the meaning behind this?

Coolest Religious Offerings


Most of the Jewish headstones were covered with rocks.

Best Monogram


Best Carved Name


Oddest Headstone


Cheesiest Amateur Poetry


Best Inscription and Carving Combination


Most Overly Sentimental Sentiment

If Tears Could Build a Stairway
And Memories Were A Lane
We Would Walk Right Up To Heaven
And Bring You Back Again

I wish I knew some of the stories of the people buried here. I bet they are fascinating.



Loralee Choate said...

You know I LOVE cemeteries! I loved your cemetery tours and still think of them every fall.

These photos rocked. BTW-Wolfe Londoner???? TOTALLY the best name ever!

Shannon said...


Those are some of the coolest headstones I've ever seen! It was a lot of fun looking at them. Don't you think a bench is an interesting thing to make a headstone out of? We were talking about it in one of my classes and we decided that a bench, like death, is merely a temporary resting place. Cute huh?

Annie said...

One of my favorite things to do on my mission was walk through some of the old cemeteries in Charleston. Some of the headstones dated back to the 1600's and they were always so morbid. But from a landscape architect's view (which I'm not, but I can assume) cemeteries were the predecessor to the public park. People would gather there and have picnics and play games. The Greenwood cemetery in New York was considered one of the "must see" places for European tourists. Maybe our love of cemeteries is hereditary.

Shannon said...

I totally agree. I've been riding my bike through the Logan Cemetery everyday to get to school for almost a year and a half. I really think it's a calming place...(except at night) but I've always felt a presence there, especially on Memorial Day last year in Richmond. It's nice to know that people can still think of you after you've gone. I'm reading the poet May Swenson right now in one of my classes and it's fun to stop at her grave while I'm passing to look at it.