Posts Tagged ‘architecture’

This time last week, we looked at bench style monuments called exedra. Let’s look at a few more of these from Lake View.



McKisson Monument

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A while back, I posted a photograph of this monument, and someone commented jokingly how nice it was of the family to provide a bench for people to rest. (I’ve actually never seen anyone sitting on one of these convenient benches.) This monument style is ancient, according to Stories in Stone. Called an exedra, the bench monument dates back to the ancient Greeks.

Massiello Monument

Greek customs dictated that the family returned over the years to the burial site of their relative to perform rituals and leave offerings. Thus was born the custom of having stone benches as part of a memorial, often followed by a stone table. I haven’t found any exedra in the ancient Greek style, with curved benches and a table tomb, but there are a number of families in Lake View whose monuments take the ancient form of the bench.


Some are more modest, with only the bench itself as a marker, while others incorporate the bench into a much larger architectural masterpiece.

Gina C. Hughes

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Sarcophagus tomb with detail leaf carvings on top and the facing side, sitting on top of a stone rectangle

One of the things I’ve been learning about as I read Stories in Stone is about cemetery architecture and what certain things that you find in a graveyard should be called. One of the most interesting monument-types I have read about is the sarcophagus tomb.

A reddish brown stone tomb that looks like a rectangular box with carved rounded edges and a stone that looks like a cushion on top

Sarcophagi are permanent containers for bodies, usually made of stone and located above-ground. Keister states that most sarcophagus tombs in cemeteries are purely ornamental in the sense that they do not actually contain remains, but they look like they could. Lake View Cemetery has a considerable number of sarcophagus tombs.

Sarcophagus tomb with four inverted torches with garlands of leaving strung between them and a carved cushion with curled ends on top

I first noticed this tomb type when I photographed the Wetmores’ monuments on a snowy December day.

Two sarcophaguses with ornately carved legs on top of stone pedestals

Dark gray rectangular tomb with name Horace Kelley in capital letters, above that a pattern of carved Tudor roses, topped by a carved cushion with the edges curled under
There are specific names for certain kinds of sarcophagus tombs that I’ll write about in the future.

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In the mid-19th century, strange architectural designs started appearing in American cemeteries. Copying the ancient Egyptian temples and tombs, American architects created monuments and mausoleums that harkened back to those pre-Christian ideas of death and rebirth. The Egyptian revival movement spawned a plethora of monuments with images like the circle with vulture wings (sun), twin cobras (death), Sphinxes, and even hieroglyphics. Lake View Cemetery has a number of examples.

The winged circle and cobras are clearly visible on the King mausoleum just above the door. Ignoring the snow, one could easily see that entrance on an ancient Egyptian building.

King Mausoleum in Egyptian revival style

The Pollock mausoleum has the same set of symbols and column-edged entrance.

Pollock mausoleum in Egyptian style

The Towslee monument lacks the columns but still has the cobras and sun.

Towslee mausoleum in Egyptian revival style

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