Archive for November, 2012

AuVergne Proper

The name on this stone caught my eye because I had never seen it before. My great-grandfather was LaVergne, a name that I don’t usually see applied to men, but I’ve never seen AuVergne before. While researching the name, I found out that it’s actually is the name of a historic province and now a region in France. Because of that, almost all of the links I could find were about the place, rather than establishing for me whether the name was more popular in an earlier time or whether this person had an unusual name, possibly harkening back to the French place.

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Bickham (3)

1st Lt. Charles Goodwin Bickham received the Medal of Honor for “cross[ing] a fire-swept field, in close range of the enemy, and [bringing] a wounded soldier to a place of shelter” during the Philippine-American War.

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Nearly everything in Trinity Church had a memorial plaque or inscription on it. Unsurprisingly, the baptismal font is dedicated to a little girl who died young. I wonder what it felt like for the parents of Mary Rochester to watch babies be baptized in the font with their daughter’s name on it.



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Earlier this summer we took a trip to Buffalo, New York, and stopped by the Allentown Arts Festival. In conjunction with the festival, Trinity Church was opened up for the public to walk through, and I of course went in with my camera. The walls and windows were covered in memorials that I wanted to show.


I took a number of photos of stained glass windows with dedications, and luckily it was an overcast enough day that my photos were not all overexposed. Memorials like those in stained glass represent a kind of common cenotaph in our culture – we may be interred in a cemetery or churchyard (or even have our ashes scattered to the winds or the sea) but those we love put our names somewhere else that more people visit – on the bench at our favorite park, in stained glass at our church, in a memorial brick at our alma mater. People we knew who spent time in those places see our names and remember us, and those who never knew us read our names to themselves and wonder who we were and what we were like.


Usually the stained glass containing names is at the bottom in its own panel – sometimes I could get the whole window, but sometimes the light wasn’t quite right.

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Dugan (2)

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Couch Mausoleum and Chicago Cemetery marker (3)

Lincoln Park in Chicago was once the city’s cemetery. As Chicago grew and changed, as so often happens, the land the cemetery sat on was deemed desirable for other uses – in this case, a lakefront park. In theory, the tombstones were removed, the bodies disinterred, and nearly everything was moved to the cemeteries outside of Chicago proper.

Couch Mausoleum (2)

As is so often the case with these sorts of moves, the removal was not as complete as hoped, and periodically remains dating back to the days of city cemetery are unearthed in the area. For reasons lost to time, there is also one remaining vault in its original position. There are no records to conclusively state why the Couch vault was left in what became the park, but it stands there alone now, making it the oldest strucuture still standing within the Chicago fire zone and a beacon for the curious.

Couch Mausoleum and Chicago Cemetery marker (1)

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I’m not sure that I have any words that could illuminate more than this sculpture and its placement. It was recently installed – it definitely was not there this time last year, and it absolutely took my breath away.

Gaidaenko (2)

Gaidaenko (7)

Gaidaenko (8)

Gaidaenko (11)

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Joseph Carabelli’s monument hardly seems sufficient for him. The monuments of Lake View Cemetery from the late 19th and early 20th century were the work of immigrant stone cutters from Italy, who settled just outside one corner of the cemetery and created the neighborhood we still know as Little Italy. Joseph Carabelli’s monuments are among the largest in the cemetery, including the Garfield Memorial, the monument for John Hay, and the Rockefeller monument. The monument company that bears his name is still in business.

Hay (2)


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Brush (5)

These cenotaphs are both in the same small section of Lake View Cemetery. There’s something sweet and sad about the desire to erect a monument to a family member who is buried in another cemetery.

Severance (6)

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