Cemeteries are unique places in our lives. Some are beautiful, some are historic, and some are even entertaining. There is a quiet sadness about all cemeteries because they are the final resting places of our loved ones. We intend to post pictures here of cemeteries and head stones that are original photographs. We are looking for beauty, dignity, funny and above all something interesting. Feel free to comment and to contribute. We will provide a mail box if you want to contribute.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Egyptian, symbols and Patriotic

Occasionally I encounter a Cemetery that has so much of interest that I think I won't have enough room for the interesting pictures.  This was one of the places.  I was driving with a friend along the Naugituck river in Connecticut and I noticed this Cemetery and just had to stop.  I used my older purse camera.

Many of our monuments take their inspiration from  Ancient Egypt.  The stone below is obvious. The design is a kind of Spynx.

I have featured obelisks before, but this one is very tall and beautiful.
The Egyptian symbolism is found almost everywhere.  There is also other kinds of symbols.  The stone below has a Masonic theme.
And another Masonic stone with a Husband and Wife, the husband in the Masons and the wife in the Eastern Star.  Though I was never in the Eastern Star, both my mother and aunt were and my grandfather was a Mason.

The next stone was just unusual.  I like the unusual stones and this one is really a stone.
We now go for the rather unusual or I might better say the out of ordinary.  This stone has colored engraving.
And this one is engraved with what I  believe is Japanese, but I am not positive.
I just like the shape of this one.
And this one.
I think that this is a family cluster of stones around a Cross.

And finally, This row of stones is rather special.  They represent men who died in foreign lands and who's bodies were interred in those foreign lands.  It is a reminder of the dedication of the young people who go off to protect our country.

Some of them never return!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Very Old and Very Beautiful

There is almost nothing to compare to New England in the Fall.  Colors seem to just pop out at you and the air is so clear.  These are some quick shots I took for a different project, but certainly fit here.  I was shooting in Norwalk Connecticut and this church is on the green in Norwalk.  It is St. Paul's Episcopal Church and is one of the older Churches in the area.
This sign is at the entrance to the cemetery that is part of the church grounds of this Parish.  I will show you another view.

I  clearly need to go back and photograph the stones here better and I will do that.  For now I am going to add pictures without comment from here.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Things That Don't Belong There

As I have been visiting within the sacred spaces of so many Cemeteries I have tried to be meticulous in being a neutral force in those spaces.  I am careful to not intrude on private spaces when others are there.  I make no changes to anything and pictures are quite noninvasive.  I am very aware that there are people buried in these places and their presence in these places makes it a kind of sacred space.

Occasionally I am reminded that this is the real world and not everything in a cemetery exactly fits the place.  In my travels I have taken some pictures of things within cemeteries that don't exactly belong there.

This one I guess I can kind of understand.  I often travel with a cup of coffee.  As someone was visiting this grave or another one close by, they finished their coffee or just set it down and forgot it.  There the cup sits!

I clearly understand the presence of a coffee cup, but this one leave me mystified.  This is a wooden box and a shoe.  They are placed on some rocks near this stone.  I don't get it!  Possibly there is some significance to this, but it is known only to the person who left the items there.

This one I totally get.  First, there was no way to shoot the picture and show that it was from a cemetery.  The baseball was deep into the grass.  The grass was newly mowed and the ball was unharmed.  This was an accident.  The cemetery was surrounded by a chain-link fence and just across  the street were some houses.  I  can envision children playing ball and when the ball went astray into the cemetery the children had strict orders not to go there!  So here sits their baseball.

This final one is a bit poignant.  This is a deflated helium balloon.  It is the kind that children are so fond of.  There is a smiley face and a heart with "I Love You" written on it.  Strictly speaking it may not belong, but possibly it was intentionally left much as one might leave flowers.  It is unclear if the balloon just blew there or was left.  The string was not attached and the balloon just was laying there.

This theme, I am sure, will appear again as I investigate new places and walk in new sacred fields.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Olde East Street Burying Grounds

I have a friend that lives in Plainville Connecticut.  I vist her often and I pass by this little cemetery every time I visit her.  I decided to stop and shoot some pictures, but to my distress the Cemetery is closed to the public.  It is completely fenced with high fences which are locked.  The fences on two of the sides is chain-link so I was able to shoot some photographs from a distance.
As the sign indicates this is an early cemetery for the Plainville community.  Veterans, community leaders and farmers were buried here.  As a note, I was able to hold the camera up over the fence to take this. 
There was a large old tree right in the center of the plot.  You can see part of a neighboring wooden fence and the chain-link fence as well as several of the stones.
Though I was able to get some clear shots and you can see that the stones are very old, I did not have my longest lens with me.  I could not get great clarity to real some of the stones clearly.  Time, weathering, stone quality and distance made this a more difficult shoot.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another view from I-84

This second cemetery visible from I-84 is the Quinnipiac Cemetery in Southington Connecticut.  This is a very unusual cemetery in many ways, but it dates back to the 1770's.  It is not only very old, but laid out in a very strange way.  There are 5 access roads from the street and two of them are gated closed.  Movement inside the cemetery by car is quite difficult because there are almost no internal road turns.  Some of the monuments were quite interesting.
Though it is difficult you can just see the highway (I-84) to the right and in the background. Notice the name on the stone, Frisbie. Could this person be related to the toy manufactures (which is actually named after a New Haven pie maker, I think.)

 At about this point as I was walking through the cemetery taking pictures, I was attacked by swarms of biting insects!  I ran for the car and consequently all the following pictures were actually taken from the car window.  Surprisingly, I was able to leave the car window open without any problem.
These were two rather unique stones that caught my eye.

This lovely monument with a stone urn was very tall.  There was also a nice old tree next to it.

As usual in old cemeteries there were a number of Civil War Veterans, buried there.  This is quite normal, but I was in for a real surprise when I went to the very back of the cemetery.
There was a whole section of the cemetery devoted to War Veterans and there were a great many Civil War veterans memorialized there.  I say memorialized, because some of the stones marked veterans whose bodies were actually buried near the battle fields where they died. This soldier died at Chancellorsville.
The large stone commemorates the section of this cemetery to burial and memorializing the dead of our wars.
This stone caps it all off for me.  This William Kelley died at Cold Harbor.  After Grant took control over the Union Army he pressed the Confederate forces.  Grant pulled troops who had been protecting the Nations Capitol into the offensive battles.  The Connecticut heavy Artillery company had been one of those units which were pulled from Washington, D.C.  There were many many casualties from Connecticut at Cold Harbor.  General Grant later stated that he regretted his attack at Cold Harbor.  Regret or not Grant and his Army were able to wear down the Confederates to win the Civil War. This stone is a piece of history!

Monday, August 9, 2010

View from Interstate 84

I drive on Interstate 84 almost daily.  I drive by two cemeteries that are at least partially visible from this heavily trafficked highway.  I have long wanted to stop and take some photo in them.  I finally got a chance and was able to photograph both of them in the same day.  One of the Cemeteries is called the Quinnipiac Cemetery and is located in Southington, CT.  It dates from the 1770's and I will do a whole post on what I found there.
This is a small sample showing some of the obelisk stones and the older rather plane stones from the 1700's and 1800's. There will be more from this cemetery.  There is something special hidden back within this sacred place.

The second Cemetery is a roman Catholic cemetery just off I84 in Waterbury, CT, named St. Joseph's Cemetery. I see the above stone from the highway almost daily.  The rest of the pictures will be from St. Joseph's Cemetery which had some very attractive monuments.
The cemetery is on a hill and these monuments were very tall and on this rather steep hill.  Below is a closer look at two of these markers.

This very tall and narrow marker below is made of red granite and is very striking next to white stone next to it.
This stone is more conventional in size and shape but is carved quite nicely.

Not only can this cemetery be seen from the highway, but you see the highway from within the cemetery.  Additionally, the cemetery overlooks a large shopping center.

Resting in peace I guess can be done even in the rush of our modern pace of living.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monuments and Statues

To this point I have not done a lot with pictures of monuments and statues as grave markers.  In many cemeteries there are some rather special forms of grave marker carvings.  I passed by a cemetery recently that I had know of, but not visited recently. This was the first visit to take pictures.  It happens to be a roman Catholic Cemetery and many of the monuments are in a Roman Catholic religious theme.
 I thought that this monument was rather special.  A woman appears to be clinging to the cross, a supplicant?
I think that this is a typical Mary and child, Theotokos (Θεοτόκος). There are angels to the side with crossed hands and bent heads.
This is a lone bowing Angel.  This Angel has crossed hands once again.  there are only two Angels mentioned in the bible, St. Michael and St Gabriel.  Gabriel is said to have been the herald to the Virgin Mary in the Annunciation.
This, I am guessing, is either meant to be Jesus or possibly a Saint.  The cemetery is the Parish Cemetery for a church named St. Thomas.  Could this be St. Thomas? 

This is a fairly modern cemetery.  It is very well maintained and there were many people in the cemetery taking care of the grave sites of their loved ones.  I shot more pictures, but this will have to suffice for now.  I have a great backlog of pictures to post and little tome to do the posting.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Damaged Grave Stones

It turns out that the topic of stone damage is really, really big!  I am guessing that I will be posting on the subject many times.  If you don't see what might be important to you please send me an email and I will try to get information and of course some original pictures.

I mentioned before that my Mothers monument suffered from some damage from Lichens.  Lichen is a kind of plant that grows on stone.  It make acids and attaches to stone and can eventually break the stone.  Lichen is one of those forces that we call erosion.  Stone is a resilient material, but it can be damaged and even destroyed.
This is part of the monument that is above my Mother's grave.  There is a base and this vase-like stone piece.  Flowers can be placed in the vase and I some time do that. This was taken during the very final stages of the Winter, so no flowers.  The monument server as a marker for My Mother, her Father and Mother.  Her Mother, my Grandmother died in the 1938 Hurricane along with a generation of mothers from Christ Church, Westerly, Rhode Island.  Notice the discolored rings at various spots on the vase.
This is a close-up of part of the base of the monument which shows the Lichen on the Granite stone.  I am still uncertain what might be done.  I don't want to damage the stone myself and make things worse.  I am researching the matter.
 This is a different stone with Lichen growing at a juncture between the top and bottom parts of the monument.

As common as Lichen on the stones are broken stones.  I do not know what caused these breaks, but some of these stones were broken and then later repaired.  This is an interesting stone as well as having been broken.

Both of these stones were broken at one time and then repaired.  There is no indication as to the cause of the break.  At various time I have read of vandalism in Cemeteries.  Often stones are broken or overturned in such episodes of vandalism. I am providing a link to an article on this kind of vandalism.  I do not know that any of the damaged stones were caused by vandalism!  I do not know what caused this damage at all.
This stone is so damaged that there is only a small piece of it still visible above the ground.

This stone has fallen from it's base and is lying on the ground.  The base is tilted here.  The monument is located at the edge of the cemetery and there is a sharp drop off.  Perhaps there was some erosion under the base stone and the whole thing tipped over.  This is also in the down town area of Meriden, CT so other things are possible.

This damage is quite different.  Large portions of the side of this stone have broken off.  I am guessing that this is from weathering.  Stone can fracture if water gets into small cracks and freezes.  The winters in New England are often hard  and this is a monument from the mid 19th Century.

I will from time to time revisit this topic with new pictures and possibly some new thoughts on damaged monuments.  Nature I am sure is the greatest cause of damage, but people have to be considered as causes also.  As for nature, all we can do is choose better materials and try to protect and maintain the stones.  The damage from people is truly sad and totally preventable.