Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

Gordon (2)

Gordon (1)

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Pillars Emma

Emma Ruth Pillars loved flowers.  We know because her tombstone says so and because three years after she died, her husband donated the Emma Pillars Garden of Memory to Fostoria Fountain Cemetery so that she could rest forever with the flowers and trees she had loved in life.

Pillars Memorial Garden (2)

Pillars Memorial Garden (3)

Pillars Memorial Garden

It’s almost overwhelming how much love is bundled up in that little three word epitaph, “she loved flowers.”  It is the kind of thing that you say when you are trying to convey the utter internal devastation you feel at a loved one’s death to someone who didn’t know them.  How do you explain a life?  How do you explain a person?  How do you explain the hundreds or thousands of little moments that pile up into something coherent, into the bond you had?  You can’t.  I could write about my grandmother and everything I can remember about her every day for the rest of my life on this blog, but in the end, you wouldn’t know her.  You would know some things about her, but the sinews that stitched my heart to hers from the moment I was born until the day she died overwhelm any words I have ever learned.  And so, when you are Edward Ralph Pillars, a widower of a woman who enjoyed flowers more than nearly anything else in the world, you want to leave a monument that provides a glimpse of your love and devotion to her.  And so you build her a garden with her name on it and, when you try to find the words that communicate your sense of loss, you fall back on the simple statement “she loved flowers.”

Pillars Edward

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Pratt (18)

Sunus (3)

One of my favorite things about visiting cemeteries in the spring are the flowers – not the cut ones that are brought by family and friends, but the ones that bloom every year in a place that most people associate only with death. Maybe some of them are descendants of flowers planted there years before, but often they seem to be a gift from Mother Nature to those who rest below the ground.




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Spahn Anna (2)

Spahn Anna (3)

Spahn Anna (4)

I don’t know anything about this statue other than what you see here. I haven’t been able to find any information on who Anna Spahn that I can definitively state is this particular woman, although the photographs of her monument are popular online. The hairstyle and clothes on this statue make me wonder if this is supposed to represent Anna herself – most cemetery statues aren’t meant to resemble the person buried there, but this one has such distinctive period-appropriate looks, different from the other statues nearby, that it makes me wonder.

Spahn Anna (5)

Spahn Anna (8)

Spahn Anna (7)

Spahn Anna (6)

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This statue was unmissable at Calvary Cemetery – it was clear from its wear that it was old, but someone had placed a bunch of orange faux flowers in its hand.

Xelowski (2)

Lina May Xelowski died on her 2nd birthday. Based on the entry I found in John William Leonard’s The Book of Chicagoans (1917 volume), she was the daughter of surgeon Thaddeus Zigmund Xelowski, a graduate of the University of Illinois, and his wife Lina Bliss. Another entry in The Alumni Record of the University of Illinois (1921) confirms that she was the youngest of their three children.

Xelowski (3)

There was no marker nearby with the Xelowski name to provide evidence her family was later buried with her, but someone comes and leaves flowers for her. Is it a relative, or just someone touched by the tragedy of a little girl who never got the chance to grow up?


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Liles of the valley bloom across the bottom edge of the tombstone for Irvin Curtis Batson, who died in 1905 at the age of only nine or ten.  Douglas Keister, in Stories in Stone, states that lily of the valley symbolize innocence and purity, as well as renewal, since it is one of the earliest flowers to bloom in spring.


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I’m still catching up – I’ve been working on a lot of projects lately that haven’t left me a lot of time to work on the blog, and I’m out a camera, so I’m going to present you with a virtual bouqet – flower art from monuments in East Cleveland Township Cemetery. Enjoy!


John Hoffman

Vincenzo Colombo


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Some cemetery statues having flowers in hand, just about to be dropped on the ground. According to a number of cemetery symbolism websites I’ve looked at, this symbolizes the spreading of blessings, sort of like a flower girl (my flower girls were flinging petals into the air with all their might, but maybe some flower girls drop them more gracefully and sedately like the statues).


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I am not artistically inclined, at least not in the realm of sculpture. The most extensive sculpture project I ever undertook was a diorama for elementary school. Carved from soap, all of the little woodland creatures ended up looking like little pastel lumps with occasional protrusions that might have been ears and gouges that looked like eyes if you squinted. As a result of my own lack of talent, I am enthralled when someone else can take a piece of stone and turn it into a flower so realistic that all that is missing is color.


These are detail shots of flowers on Lake View Cemetery monuments.


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While we expect that simple tombstones might be alike in some way, I think that there is an assumption that even I have that as a monument gets larger, it is more and more likely to be unique. There is a particular statue design, though, that I have found at least twice now.

She’s veiled and draping a wreath of flowers around a cross. I’ve found her in Lakeside Cemetery in Bay Village, Ohio.

Cahoon monument

I’ve found in her Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.


From the fact that the design is not unique and the amount of erosion on her compared to other statues, I’m going to guess that she is a slightly less expensive statue that those found around her. That still probably isn’t saying much – a monument with any statue is still far more costly than a simple, flat stone.

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