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, 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.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Modern Monuments

Most of the stones and monuments I have featured to date have been older.  Many of them are from the 19th Century or before.  I have obviously taken far more photo shots than I am able to show here.  I have taken many shots of contemporary stones. Many of the more modern stones are what I would term conventional, but some are quite different.  Some of them are quite strikingly different.  One of the things I discovered in preparing the pictures for this site is that many of the stones have incomplete inscriptions.  This I believe is because one partner in a couple still survives, but their name was put on the stone when their loved one died.  I have attempted to scrub some of the identifying information from some of the pictures to be sensitive to the feelings of possible survivors.
This stone has a picture attached to the stone.  I am not sure of the process, but it is quite a good picture.  I  took this because of the picture on the stone and because of the extra items by the grave.  The picture is in color and is etched into the stone in some way. Extra items are quite common in more recent grave sites.  I believe that extra items were always present, but tended to deteriorate fairly soon.
The images on this stone appear to be etched there rather than carved.  I am not sure of the process, but I plan to visit a stone carver some time soon to find out more.  Once again there are extra items, including photoelectric lights.
Once again, I believe that this may be some sort of etching process.  I love lighthouses, though and this is quite striking.
This is a religious motif which I believe is carved.  The polished red granite is quite beautiful.

These are both quite distinctive and I believe reflect the interests of the people when they were alive.  Many of the modern stones do seem to reflect the persons active life or love.

I managed to capture parts of three different stones in this picture.  I see the double or single heart frequently.  Polished granite is quite popular and durable and the red or black granite make a variation from the gray.   Very large stones and obelisks are not as popular in modern monuments.  This could be a matter of cost, but may be just a factor of fashion.

I am working on a post on damaged stones and monuments.  I have done a little research since I noticed that my mother's stone has some lichen growing on it.  Lichen I know can do long-term damage so I have been looking at possible remedies.  In the process I have noticed other kinds of damage to other stones wherever I go.  Look for that post soon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Obelisks as Monuments

For a while I have been wanting to post on the use of Obelisks as markers in cemeteries.  Obelisks I think originated with the Egyptians a very long time ago.  If they were not the first, they were certainly the most spectacular to use these elegant stone monuments.  Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to travel to Egypt and therefore have no pictures of the actual Egyptian Obelisks.  I do have a link here to the Wikipedia article on them. The word obelisk isn't Egyptian, but Greek from the word ὀβελίσκος (obeliskos), meaning something like pointed pillar.

  Fortunately, there are samples of American Obelisks in most cemeteries that  go back to the 19th Century or before.  I therefore have some American Obelisks to show you.
The above picture contains several obelisks of different sorts and heights.  This is not really the best photo, but it does illustrate some typical forms of American obelisks.
Though this picture is large, the monument is quite small.  It is an obelisk shape but it measures less than three feet in height.  Surprisingly there are many samples of this kind of monument throughout the cemeteries I have seen.

These are very large monuments measuring 10 feet or more in height.  The obelisk to the far right of the right-most photo is wide and about 4 feet tall.

This is a sample of a modified obelisk.  It has a bulging ornate top that replaces the pyramid at the top.  Surprisingly to me this is a very common variation.
I personally like the very clean lines of the basic and pure obelisk!

Next I will post some modern stones that I have photographed.  I have mostly concentrated on the older stones, but this generation has produced some striking monuments.