Beautiful masonry is not restricted just to buildings; our cemeteries are filled with it.  Due to my geographic location, we can only travel back in time as far as the 1870’s today.  It was very cold and windy this morning on the High Plains; the atmosphere was perfect to inspect old headstones.  It’s impossible to look at these monuments and not reflect on your own mortality.  Everywhere are indications that the past was in many ways more brutal than the present.  Thirty-two photos follow – enjoy the efforts of yesteryear’s stone carvers!


Let’s just slip inside the fence and begin our tour…


A modest version of the popular obelisk form.  Many of the earliest monuments in this area are made of marble and mounted on blocky limestone bases – often with a crosshatched pattern; this base is heavily eroded.


“Called Higher”


Detail of above.


The drapery motif was popular in the late 19th century.


The side of this monument is actually more interesting than the front.


A naturalistic and ruggedly handsome monument, early 20th century.


The epitaph would not fly in today’s politically correct world.  Limestone, c. 1870’s.


Fabulously Art Deco!


An “artistic” design.


I can’t help but think that this one would make an incredible newel post!


Detail of above.  Still crisp and sharp after a century!


Gotta love the weathering and lichens on this one…


Weathering has helped to make the fine detail of this monument more visible.


Weathering has softened the detail of this monument.


Some tangible reminders that life wasn’t always better in the “good old days”…


The lamb was a popular motif for children’s headstones in the late 19th century.


Broken headstones are frequently set in concrete as seen here.  This is not a good option for preservation in the long-term and could potentially accelerate damage to the marble.


“Gone to the summer land”


I really like this one!


This monument is kind of a hybrid between a conventional marker and an obelisk.


The Pearly Gates show up frequently as a motif, also.


“Meet me in heaven.”


The open bible and the hand are also common motifs; they are combined here.


“Oh dear; I’m so tired.”


This monument is not broken; it was designed that way for artistic effect.  If I have ever seen a fluted octagonal shaft before I don’t remember it.


The following monuments do not rely on the stone carver’s art, but they are still fascinating.  This one was created on site with cement and colorful rocks.


Also of cement, this monument has a niche which was once covered with glass.  Broken shards remain and appear to have been there for some time.  I wonder what was displayed behind the glass?


A tombstone made of wood.  Traces of white paint which once protected it remain.


A blacksmith and his tools at rest.


A monument of cast iron.



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