Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #29: Cemeteries

Though many find them creepy and morbid, I love cemeteries -- the older the better. I'm not saying I'd take a leisurely stroll through one on a dark and stormy night, but during the day they can be a peaceful communion with our past, whispering stories long forgotten. In keeping with the cemetery theme this week, here are thirteen cemeteries I've visited.

1. Père-Lachaise (Paris, France) ~ Visited during spring break my senior year in high school. I wish we'd had more time to wander those ancient paths. I remember passing markers for Hugo, Collette and James Morrison, but not many others. Must return some day!

2. Forest Hill Cemetery (Madison, Wisconsin) ~ Dating back to 1857, Forest Hill is a virtual "who's who" of Madison with many leaders in geovernment and other fields buried here, including one of my high school English teachers. There is also a paternal aunt who died of polio at age 9.

3. Resurrection Cemetery (Madison, Wisconsin) ~ It may not be quite as picturesque as Forest Hill, but there are a number of interesting Madisonians buried here as well. Located across from Forest Hill, it is the city's "Catholic" cemetery.

4. Roselawn Memorial Park (Madison, Wisconsin) ~ This one I've only been to once or twice, as it is more difficult for me to get to. Must make an effort one of these days to track down my paternal grandfather.

5. Mt. Cavalry (Dubuque, Iowa) ~ Maternal grandparents are buried here. I don't recall much about it as it's been a couple decades since I was there. I remember a pretty little chapel and, being as it was January, lots of snow and cold.

6. Mount Moriah Cemetery (Deadwood, SD) ~ The original Boot Hill where Calamity Jane and Wild Bill are buried.

7. Lafayette Cemetery #1 (New Orleans) ~ Can you visit New Orleans without viewing at least one cemetery? I only wish we had taken one of the cemetery tours and had taken more pictures. Next time... *wink*

8. Arlington National Cemetery (Alexandria, VA) ~ Sobering, but definitely a site worth visiting in the Washington, D.C. area. Though it was interesting to see the graves of the Kennedy family and mast of the USS Main, and the Tomb of the Unknowns emotional, what impacted us more was the monument to the Space Shuttle Challenger crew, which exploded in 1986 when we were still in high school. I think it's a matter of remembering where you were when it happened, much as the Kennedy assassination is for our parents.

9. Gettysburg National Cemetery (Gettysburg, PA) ~ A solemn site to visit, but well worthwhile. There are monuments dedicated to various regiments who fought and perished here scattered throughout the battlefields. During our first visit we did not find any for Wisconsin, but found all but one the second time there, including one for the famed Iron Brigade.

10. Fort Mackinac Post Cemetery (Mackinac Island, MI) ~ A pretty little historic cemetery.

11. St. John's Church (Richmond, VA) ~ A lovely old graveyard I would have enjoyed exploring at greater length. The church was built in 1741 and buriels continued into the 1820s. Among those buried here are George Wythe (signer of the Declaration), Elizabeth Arnold Poe (Edgar's mother), James Mercer, and many veterans of the American Revolution and War of 1812.

12. St. Mary's Cemetery (Old Town Alexandria, VA) ~ While visiting a friend in Alex one year, we all went on a ghost tour, which ended at this quaint little church cemetery.

13. La Belle Cemetery (Oconomowoc, WI) ~ I wish I could say my visits to this one were ones I wanted to remember, but who wants to remember burying a friend who was taken far too young (ten yrs ago this December)? Still, it is a pretty cemetery, and she has a beautiful view from her hilltop. TFJ, Jenni.

And two I'd like to visit:

14. Mount Auburn Cemetery (Boston, MA) ~ Dedicated in 1831, it was the first of America's rural, or garden, cemeteries and is the one Forest Hill Cemetery is modeled after. I saw this one featured on a PBS special about famous cemeteries in the US in 2005 and it does intrigue me. History and horticulture coexist here, and famous graves include those of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Julia Ward Howe, Charles Bulfinch, James Russell Lowell, Winslow Homer, Margaret Fuller, and abolitionist Charles Sumner.

15. Oakland Cemetery (Atlanta, GA) ~ Another one heard about in the PBS cemetery special. Notable graves include that of author Margeret Mitchell.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Tempest * Lia Morgan * Tara Nichols * Shelley Munro * Babe King * Gina Ardito * Jennifer Shirk * Darla * Adelle Laudan * Savannah Chase * Morgan St. John * JAC * Debbie Mumford * Paige Tyler * DD Mills * Seeley Deborn * Kaige

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Tara S Nichols said...

My cousin and I used to bike into town just to picnic in the cemetary. I get you. I like them too.
Cool stones, cool names... not so thrilled about being in there after dark though.

Heather said...

Tara~ Ah, a kindred spirit - no pun intended. Forest Hill here was laid out as a pleasure park and people used to picnic there every Sunday after church back in the 1800s and early 1900s. There are still benches found in each section to encourage people to sit and enjoy.

Shelley Munro said...

We used to take our dog for a walk in our local cemetary since there weren't many green spaces near us. We got to know it really well. There were a lot of the founding members of the town buried there. I found it creepy at first but came to enjoy our walks.

Babe King said...

Oh yeah, lots of history in a cemetary. The crisis of "Theft of the Golden Hooha" happens in a cemetary. :-)

Gina Ardito said...

Cool list. I've been to a few, like Arlington and Gettysburg, and last year had to take my daughter to a local historical site for a gravestone rubbing. Very interesting...

Jennifer Shirk said...

There's one in Boston (where Sam Adams is buried) that's cool, too.

Darla said...

I always find cemeteries fascinating, too, especially the older cemeteries with stones dating back centuries.

Tempest Knight said...

These are awesome! Great reference material here. *winks* Thanks for sharing them. I'll check them out when I get home.

Adelle said...

Graveyards used to be our fav hangout as teens. Great list! Happy T13!

Savannah Chase said...

i am scared of or night they just creep me out... a lot....


Morgan St. John said...

I love the old cemetaries!!!! DH and I've been to a few on our dates. Even in HS I would walk to the one up the street from where I lived. Great list.

Kaige said...

That's interesting that you listed a Mount Olivet Cemetery. That's the name of the one in my hometown where my grandmother and father are buried. I like looking at really old grave markers. Some of them are so beautiful and the sense of history is amazing. Thanks for a great TT.

Mine's up at

Lia said...

Watching the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

My favorite cemetery is the one where my mother's family is buried. There are about 6 or 7 families buried there. All related to one another in a southern fashion. My grandparents are under a willow tree, next to their son who was killed in a accident in 1964 when he was 16. His name was Duel. My favorite uncle is there as well under a headstone my brother designed and carved himself.

Debora said...

I love these old places. In fact the family cringes whenever we go on vacation and I spot one - they know we'll be visiting...nice post.

Heather said...

Shelley~ There are a lot of founders in Forest Hill as well. You walk down the one lane and it's mostly people who have streets and parks named after them.

Babe~ I didn't know your book had a cemetery scene. Cool!

Gina~ The gravestone rubbing sounds like an interesting exercise/assignment.

Jennifer~ That would be the Granary Burial Grounds, yes? I think that would be interesting to visit, too!

Heather said...

Darla~ The older ones are definitely the best. I love the old engravings and other symbolic elements most of the more modern stones lack.

Tempest~ Glad to provide fodder for ideas! ;)

Adelle~ I couldn't imagine hanging out at the cemetery as a teen, but love wandering through them now.

Savannah~ Ah, come on...they aren't that bad. LOL

Heather said...

Morgan~ You know you've met the one when he shares your penchant for cemeteries. I wish I lived close enough to walk to Forest Hill regularly.

Kaige~ You posted while i was editing my post. It was actually the other cemetery in Dubuque I've been to, Mt. Cavalry, but interesting that there's another Olivet, considering how uncommon a name it is.

Lia~ The Changing of the Guard is quite an emotional experience. I hear they are talking about a new tomb, as the current one is cracked. And how cool that your family has their "own" little cemetery!

Debora~ Hehe...I'm glad my friends have always been willing to visit cemeteries when we've gone on vacations together. That's how I've seen so many of these. In fact, when we went to Paris in HS, Père-Lachaise was one place the entire group wanted to visit on a free day.

Debbie Mumford said...

DH and I have done rubbings in cemetaries. Very cool stuff.

Thanks for all the links!

Kate Willoughby said...

Very unique TT. I could dit cemetaries in the daylight, but at night...that's another story. ;)

Heather said...

Debbie~ You're welcome, and thank YOU for visiting!

Kate~ I'd say visiting a cemetery at night would depend on whether one were alone, and where it was located. The north side of Forest Hill borders a major street, so that might not be too bad at night, but the farther in you go, the darker and more isolated it gets. *shiver*

Jana said...

I used to regularly roam the cemetary beside my childhood church. Did a photography project in it my senior year of college. It's about 120 years old and has some cool markers, not to mention is "home" to a lot of the older generation I grew up with. I haven't been inside it in a few years though.

Cemetaries are cool, but as others have said, they're best enjoyed in the daylight. LOL

Heather said...

Jana~ I bet those were/are some cool pictures! And yes, definitely more enjoyable during the day -- although evening ghost tours (with a group) can be fun. I hear the one at Gettysburg is fantastic!