Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Havana, Cuba

Egyptian Revival ~ Pyramids:  Just like the ones at Giza, but smaller. If you are buried in a pyramid, perhaps your soul is automatically elevated to the status of God. Nevertheless, the decision to be buried in a pagan-style tomb must have been controversial. Erected 1920. Cemeterio de Cristóbal Colón. [2014]

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Miami, Florida

Egyptian Revival ~ Pyramids:  Napoleon, probably imagining himself as Pharaoh, invaded Egypt in 1798. As a result, the aesthetic of ancient Egypt re-entered the Europeanized world. The Egyptian Revival hit architecture first, then it hit the cemeteries. It continues to this day. If a pyramid was fit for a pharaoh, then it would be fit for Mary Hecht, department store heiress who died in 1982. Woodlawn Park Cemetery. [2014]

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sanahin, Armenia

Focus on Sanahin Cemetery:  Every year, April 24 is solemnly commemorated as Armenian Genocide Day. Beginning exactly 100 years ago, the Armenian population of eastern Turkey was eliminated at the hands of the Ottomans. Eastern Armenia survived, initially under Soviet rule and now as the Republic of Armenia. Buried here are four who were not part of the Armenian genocide, but their demise must have been tragic nonetheless. The year of death engraved on the headstone is the same for all. Now. only their names and ghostly etchings remain to haunt the hallows of Sanahin. [2015]

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sanahin, Armenia

Focus on Sanahin Cemetery:  We can read the numbers on these headstones, but not the names. That's because Armenians have their own alphabet. It dates back to 405 AD when it was devised by St. Mesrop Mashtots. To give you an idea of his stature in Armenian culture, take a look at street names in Yerevan. Until 1990, the city's main thoroughfare was called Lenin Street. When that name became unsustainable, the soon-to-be-independent Republic of Armenia went back sixteen centuries to find a name worthy of enshrinement. Yerevan's main thoroughfare is now called Meshtots Street. [2015]

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sanahin, Armenia

Focus on Sanahin Cemetery:  He is violating the cemetery's unwritten rules. One says that, if pictured on the tombstone, you are not allowed to smile. Another says that you may not be shown with any earthly possessions other than the clothes on your back. Visit and fact check: he's the only smiling angel in the entire burial ground. Actually, the rule holds in most cemeteries around the world. [2015]

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sanahin, Armenia

Focus on Sanahin Cemetery:  Archaeology has yielded a trove of khatchars at Sanahin Monastery, but in the cemetery out back, somber etching have become far more popular than traditional stone crosses as memorials. The monastery complex is a prized link to Armenia's medieval past. If you visit, remember that the best view of the monastery is from the cemetery. [2015]

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sanahin, Armenia

Focus on Sanahin Cemetery:  Climbing up the ridge behind the Sanahin Monastery is the cemetery, which is still an active burial place for the community. In traditional  Armenian cemeteries, khatchkars, or stone crosses, are among the most common grave markers. In fact, if you were limited to displaying just one icon to represent Armenian culture it would be the khatchkar, which is now on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. [2015]

Friday, April 17, 2015

Menominie, Wisconsin

Singling Out Historical Events:  How many historical events are commemorated here? Exactly 1,111. If you ever want to turn back the clock because you think the past was so much better than the present, just read this historical marker and count your blessings. In fact, just visit any historical cemetery and count your blessings. Evergreen Cemetery. [2012]

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Adairsville, Georgia

Singling Out Historical Events:  Here's a historical marker which is in a cemetery but which seems to have very little to do with the cemetery. Rather, it commemorates a Civil War troop movement (not even a battle!) that happened in the vicinity. Looks like this maker has reached the end of its life and should be replaced, repaired, or retired. Does the Georgia Historical Commission have no budget for maintenance? Eastview Cemetery. [2013]

Monday, April 13, 2015

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Singling Out Historical Events:  The most famous speech in American history was delivered at a cemetery. Many of us learned to recite it word for word in school. Now, near the place where it was delivered, a historical marker commemorates the event. Gettysburg National Cemetery. [2006]

Friday, April 10, 2015

Huntington, West Virginia

Singling Out Historical Individuals:  The Daughters of the Confederacy seem to hold some sway over the West Virginia Division of Archives and History. They got this marker erected not long ago, in 2000, proving once again that we can pack ever more Civil War history into our cultural landscapes. Even though 150 years have slipped by, there is still an appetite for commemorating the War Between the States. Or Civil War, depending on your orientation. Spring Hill Cemetery. [2013]

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Waco, Texas

Singling Out Historical Individuals:  The Texas Historical Commission has seen fit to use a city cemetery to teach some history, in this case something about Thomas Hudson Barron, one of the earliest settlers in the Waco area. How do you like this line about his first wife? "Elizabeth died after giving birth to twelve children." His second wife bore him 10 more. Depending on how many survived, there's a possibility that all Anglos in Texas have Barron in their family tree! First Street Cemetery. [2012]

Monday, April 6, 2015

Meridian, Mississippi

Singling Out Historical Individuals:  Even before there was 'country music,' there was Jimmie Rodgers, the man who started it all. On the Mississippi Country Music Trail, his marker is placed at his grave site. In fact, the trail begins at his final resting place. Rephrasing Natalie Sleeth:  In his end is a beginning. Oak Grove Cemetery. [2013]

Friday, April 3, 2015

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Singling Out Historical Cemeteries: The historical marker that relates the significance of Magnolia Cemetery was erected by the City of Baton Rouge. With more control over marker design at the local level, BR and Baton Rouge appear in red. You can be sure that would have never happened on a state historical marker! The Civil war is the foundation of everything historical in the South, and Magnolia Cemetery seems to be no exception. Magnolia Cemetery. [2011]

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Montgomery, Alabama

Singling Out Historical Cemeteries: "Oakwood Cemetery, consisting of Scott’s Free Burying Ground, Plats 1, 2, 3, and 4, and the old Catholic and Jewish cemeteries, is filled with the history of this City, State and area. Those who pioneered the wilderness, made the early decisions, formed our government, promulgated our law, bore arms when necessary, and experienced the hardships and successes of our growth rest here. Having passed the torch of progress to us, many of those who were a living and integral part of our history and heritage have at last found safe harbor, in Old Oakwood." That's what is says on the other side of this marker. Old Oakwood Cemetery. [2013]