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Posts Tagged ‘harrisburg cemetery’

Haly Sarah Haldeman

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I haven’t posted photos of sarcophagi in a while. Sarcophagus tombs in most modern cemeteries just look like they hold a body. The actual person is usually interred below or next to the monument.

Groenbaum (3)

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Unreadable

Boyd  (5)

Arches and archways in cemeteries are supposed to symbolize the entrance to heaven. These particular examples are from Harrisburg Cemetery in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Knox Josephine and Georgeanna

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Zollinger

An unopened or partially opened bud with a broken stem is a frequent symbol on the graves of young people – not just children, but young adults. It symbolizes the unrealized possibilities from death at a young age.

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Keller 2

I’ve shown you this stone before but I’m showing it to you for a different reason. This man, like my grandfather, worked for the railroad (unlike my grandfather, this man died on the railroad). My grandfather doesn’t have anything about his employer, the Pennsylvania Railroad, on his stone. I am grateful that my grandfather, despitte his teh fact that the was able to work with only a 5th grade education, encouraged me to continue mine. He wanted me to go to college, and he was one of the few people who never questioned that I wanted to go to graduate school. I may not yet have the job I want, but I don’t have to do the hard manual labor that wore down his body and caused him pain not only at the time, but in the last years of his life.

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It’s been a while since I wrote about this, so on the anniversary of the opening of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, let’s look at some more examples of the Egyptian Revival style in funerary art. The United States and Europe were already pretty fascinated by ancient Egypt before 1922, so the discovery of the rich tomb attracted international attention. Some of that fascination was reflected in their cemeteries.

The light was better on this side of the Rice monument to show you the motif that runs all the way around the top edge.

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The previous two examples are from Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. The last one is from Harrisburg Cemetery (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), and was so close to the cliffs at the edge that I could only photograph it from the side.

McCormick

McCormick 2

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Philbin (2)

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I’ve written about draped urns before, but I haven’t written about the symbol of drapes or curtains all by themselves. Most people who study cemetery symbolism agree that the depiction of draperies on a tombstone is a symbol of mourning. Into the 20th century, it was customary in the United States to put out black drapes (not just as curtains, but over mantlepieces, furniture, and other decor) during a period of mourning.

Spayd detail

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Dallien

On this date in 1865, Prosper Dallien died while recovering from wounds he had received at Petersburg more than two months before.  Petersburg, Virginia, was under siege by the Union army for around 9 months.  The specific conflict mentioned on Captain Dallien’s tombstone, Fort Stedman, marked Lee’s final attack of the Civil War.  Trying to break the siege of Petersburg, Confederate forces under General John B. Gordon attacked the Union redoubt Fort Stedman on March 25, 1865.  The Confederates were able to gain control of the redoubt and surrounding trenches that day, but were driven out again by Union reinforcements on the next day.  It is during this battle that Dallien was wounded.  I don’t know if Captain Dallien died of those wounds or contracted disease while in the hospital, but by the time he died, the Civil War had officially ended and the first steps had been taken to reconciliation.

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Boyd  (8)

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Harrisburg Cemetery does not have a lot of statues, at least not in the half that I was able to tour while we were there. In fact, I photographed only three.

The first two are rather traditional cemetery statues.

Osler

Gastrock

The third is not your standard mourner or heavenly messenger, but a represetnation of the deceased himself: Major General John W. Geary. He’ll be getting a post all to himself sometime soon.

Geary 9

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Hess

My stepmother was kind enough to lend me a 1995 Walking Tour of Harrisburg Cemetery when I was home visiting/vacationing. It was published as part of the cemetery’s 150th anniversary celebration. The cemetery was created in 1845 by the state legislature. Harrisburg Cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places. With its location within the state capital city, it is the final resting place for notable state politicians. In addition to the famous people who were originally buried at Harrisburg Cemetery, the burial ground is a re-interment site for many of those originally buried in local churchyards.

Jacobs Haldeman

The tour is actually pretty good. The problem with a general cemetery tour is walking the line between indulging your pet passions by over-representing them on the tour and trying to include everything and being overwhelming. The tour has a nice mixture of monuments of historical significance along with those that are artistically interesting. It’s also helped a bit by the appendices – the narrative tour is annotated with a list of famous people sorted by the field for which they are known, a glossary of funerary symbols, and a listing of the people in the cemetery for whom streets are named. The writing style can be a bit awkward, particularly when read aloud. (That was our way of dealing with having one booklet and four people.) The directions can be a little head-scratching, too, but I have to chalk some of that up to the fact that it is rather difficult to give directions in a place where stones are scattered haphazardly.

Panorama

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