The Pilgrim

Designed by Albin Polasek, former head of the Art Institute of Chicago’s sculpture department, “The Pilgrim” is a bronze statue, now stained seaweed green, of an elderly woman walking toward the mausoleum belonging to the Stejskal-Buchal family in Bohemian National Cemetery, at 5255 N. Pulaski Road in Chicago, Illinois. It’s now sometimes simply called “Death” or “Walking Death.”

The Pilgrim IV

From Sorrow to Serenity

Monument to Mead Belden (1833-1876) and his first and second wives, Sarah Elizabeth Hubbell (1834-1855) and Amelia Gertrude Woolson (1844-1864) and their family in Oakwood Cemetery, 940 Comstock Avenue in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York. Mead was a Freemason, a clothing merchant, and senior partner of Belden & Van Buskirk. Later, he was involved in construction and helped build canals and reservoirs.

Mead Belden (1833-1876) I

According to legend, either a ghostly bride or bride and groom have been seen descending the stairs to the bottom of the hill. The following eyewitness account appears on a sign for the Oakwood Ghost Trail: “Me & my friends spent the night in Oakwood one night. Over by the stairs graves in the west of the cemetery, I looked to my right and saw the bride and groom. They were beautiful, but they were bloody and they vanished before our eyes.” It’s unclear how this story is related (if at all) to the Belden family.

Wisdom of Shadows

This cloistered memorial dedicated to Marian Hooper Adams (1843-1885) is by far the most famous in St. Paul’s Rock Creek Cemetery, 201 Allison Street NW, Washington, DC. Historian Henry Adams commissioned this sculpture of a hooded figure from artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens in honor of his wife, Marian “Clover”. The statue, though Adams requested it remain nameless, has been called “Grief”, “Angel of Death”, or “Peace of God”. There is no inscription.

Marian Hooper Adams (1843-1885)

Things get weirder… According to John Alexander, author of Ghosts: Washington’s Most Famous Ghost Stories, visitors have reported feelings of extreme loneliness at the memorial. Stranger still, some say the spectral image of a frail woman appears there at dusk. Is this the ghost of Mrs. Adams reaching out for human companionship from an anonymous grave?

Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia

Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the second oldest rural cemetery in the nation. It was established in 1836 on 74 acres of land overlooking the Schuylkill River. Its lovely neoclassical gatehouse was designed in a Roman Doric style by architect John Notman (1810-1865). Laurel Hill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998.

Brig. Gen. Hugh Mercer (1726-1777)

Brig. Gen. Hugh Mercer (1726-1777) was a Scottish-American physician who settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia and was a personal friend of George Washington. He fought in the French and Indian War and in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, where he was killed at the Battle of Princeton.

Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade (1815-1872)

Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade (1815-1872), nicknamed the “Old Snapping Turtle,” is most famous for commanding the Union Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Gettysburg. He commanded the V Corps during the Battle of Fredericksburg and replaced Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker as commander of the army. His star faded after Gettysburg, however, as General Ulysses S. Grant personally directed operations in the Eastern Theater. He made Philadelphia his home and died of pneumonia brought on by his old war wounds.

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Human Fates

The Schoellkopf Memorial Well in Forest Lawn Cemetery, 1411 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, New York, commemorates Paul A. Schoellkopf, Jr. (1917-2000). It is ringed by delicately-carved bronze, neoclassical figures dancing in a circle. The Schoellkopfs are a legendary Buffalo family dating back several generations to Jacob F. Schoellkopf, whose mastery of hydroelectric power on the Niagara River made him a fortune and led to the creation of the Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. Paul Schoellkopf, Jr. served on the boards of several prominent corporations, as well as the Buffalo Sabres ice hockey team.

Paul A. Schoellkopf, Jr. (1917-2000)

The Angel of Music

This angelic monument in Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th Street in Brooklyn, New York City, is dedicated to composer and pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) and his brother, Edward George (1836-1863). Louis and George were from New Orleans, where Louis developed a taste for Latin American and Creole music. He was known as the “Valkyrie of the Piano” for his virtuoso performances. This current “Angel of Music” statue, designed by sculptors Giancarlo Biagi and Jill Burkee in 2012, replaced an older statue that was destroyed by vandalism in 1959.

Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869)

Fort Drum Specters Preserve the Past

Locals say ghosts refuse to allow the past to remain buried at this military base in Upstate New York.

Click to expand photos.

I was stationed at Fort Drum for over three years. When I wasn’t freezing my rear-end off during field exercises in the training area, I was researching the area’s history and lore. Like Fort Huachuca in southern Arizona, Fort Drum has its share of ghost stories, but because it’s a military base, its haunted sites aren’t readily available to the public. This seclusion lends an air of mystery to these already strange tales.

Fort Drum and its training area sprawls over 14 square miles of Jefferson County, New York, which shares a waterway with Canada. Relations with our neighbor to the north have not always been so friendly, and nearby Sackets Harbor served as a naval shipyard as far back as 1809. The US Army established Fort Pike and the Madison Barracks during the War of 1812 to defend the harbor. Nearly a century later, the Army opened Pine Camp several miles south along the Black River near Watertown, New York.

In 1940 and ’41, Pine Camp rapidly expanded as the Second World War threatened to drag the United States into another international conflict. The expansion displaced 525 families, swallowed five villages, and left over 3,000 buildings abandoned. The estate of James Le Ray, son of Revolutionary War hero Jacques-Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont, was appropriated by the military base. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

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The Forest is my Throne

This regal granite chair is a monument to saloon-keeper and cigar maker Patrick Dowling (1856-1896), his wife Ruth A. Page Dowling (1862-1944), and their daughter, Della (1893-1943) in Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1441 Monument Avenue in Springfield, Illinois. Chair-shaped grave markers are common in the Midwest, but this one is particularly elaborate, with draped cloth, ferns, tassels, vines, and a harp. It was carved by Springfield stonemason Edward Levanius. Oak Ridge Cemetery is the second-most visited cemetery in the United States, and its 365 acres are the final resting place for over 75,000 dead.

Patrick Dowling (1856-1896)