In Shadows Lies Utopia

Monument to Dr. Horace Wells (1815-1848) in Cedar Hill Cemetery, 453 Fairfield Avenue in Hartford, Connecticut. Though he died a relatively young man, Wells made a lasting mark on medicine with his experiments with nitrous oxide. He is considered the discoverer of anesthesia.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois

Counted among the Windy City’s premier burial grounds, Rosehill Cemetery, at 5800 N. Ravenswood Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, sprawls over 350 acres and is the final resting place for over 55,000 of the city’s former residents, including several mayors. At least four Congressional Medal of Honor winners are buried here: George Kretsinger, Peter O’Brien, William George Stephens, and James Curtis Watson.

Eternity House

Rosehill’s neoclassical mausoleum, the largest in Chicago, was designed by Sidney Lovell and opened in 1914. Four marble Doric columns distinguish its main entrance, and its floors are made from Italian marble. Department store tycoons Aaron Montgomery Ward and Richard Warren Sears are interred inside, as well as Illinois Governor Richard B. Ogilvie.

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Burden of Time

Burden of Time
Memorial for Henry (1822-1882) and Melissa (1828-1915) Denison and two of their five children in Oakwood Cemetery, 940 Comstock Avenue, next to Syracuse University, in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York. Dr. Henry De La Maitre Denison was a trained surgeon and industrialist who built railroads and canals. One son, Henry, died at the age of three and a daughter, Florence, at one year and nine months.

At first glance, this beautifully serine statue depicts a mother and her departed children, but look a little closer. These well-fed but hungry children are literally pulling off her tunic and staring at what they hope will be the source of their next meal. This is clearly meant to be a metaphor for nourishing motherhood, but I wonder if this scenario was born in the sculptor’s imagination, or whether the family specifically requested it.

Oakwood Cemetery was designed by landscape architect Howard Daniels and opened in 1859. It is a secular Victorian “rural” or “garden” style cemetery where over 60,000 people are interred in 160 wooded acres.

Neglected in Napanoch

Neglected in Napanoch
Napanoch is a hamlet in Ulster County, New York along Rondout Creek. It straddles the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River Valley. The nearby Eastern Correctional Facility is one of the only sources of employment, and there are many abandoned buildings throughout town. The Hoornbeek Store Complex, at Main and Church streets, was built in stages from 1810 to 1841. At various times it was home to a hotel, shops, and a tavern. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and is currently abandoned.

The Embrace Of Thanatos

Embrace Of Thanatos

“Thanatos,” a monument to John E. Hubbard (1847-1899), in Green Mount Cemetery at 250 State Street (U.S. Route 2) in the City of Montpelier, Washington County, Vermont. John Erastus Hubbard was a controversial figure. He allegedly duplicitously gained a sizable inheritance from his aunt, Fanny Hubbard Kellogg, who intended her wealth to benefit the City of Montpelier. The controversy surrounding the will tarnished Hubbard’s reputation.

Upon his death in 1899, Hubbard did leave the fortune to Montpelier, and some of his wealth went toward building a gate and chapel at Green Mount Cemetery. An Austrian artist named Karl Bitter designed his monument, calling it “Thanatos” after the Greek god of death. One side of the inscription reads:

Approach thy grave
Like one who wraps
The Drapery of his couch
About him and lies down
To pleasant dream

According to legend, bad luck will befall anyone foolish enough to sit on the figure’s lap (popularly called Black Agnus).