Kenneth Setzer

Old Bones and (Nearly) Forgotten Cemeteries

Do you ever explore cemeteries? I’m one of those people who likes to walk around old graveyards. A taphophile is one who digs (Ha ha, get it? Sorry) graves, cemeteries, tombs, gravemarkers, etc. I’ve narrowed down why I am so fascinated by them:

1. Photography opps: Older cemeteries often have incredible artwork in stone; there are many times massive old trees in a graveyard, also providing photogenic interest.

2. Old graveyards are known to be the haunts (Doh!) of rare plants and animals that have been driven out of neighboring areas (think pheasants in Queens, N.Y.).

3. History is literally written in stone, and unusual stories can sometimes be deciphered therefrom.

4. They’re usually quiet and peaceful.

I lived for many years only blocks from a mid-19th Century cemetery in Queens, New York. Mount Olivet is tremendous, and being non-denominational shows an omnium gatherum of styles in the gravestones and mausoleums. It was designed as a “garden cemetery” with rolling manicured hills, and is still quite beautiful. It served as my redoubt from the rest of Queens on many occasions. I’d like to share some photos of it from what was likely my last visit there.

Fresh Pond Crematory, Maspeth, N.Y.

Fresh Pond Crematory, Maspeth, N.Y.

The local crematory. Don’t all neighborhoods have one? My grandmother remembered it always being there, at one time surrounded by nature and even a small stream.

One of the many entrancesThough the grand entrance to the cemetery is far from this entry and in a better-kept section, I find this more rural path pleasanter. It meanders on and on like this.

A "Woodmen of the World" Gravemarker. Similar stones can be found in many cemeteries.

A “Woodmen of the World” gravemarker. Similar stones can be found in many cemeteries.

Overgrown and beautiful

Overgrown and Beautiful

Your Eternal Castle

Your Eternal Castle

There is peace in the feral foliage.

There is peace in the feral foliage.

I included “Forgotten” in this post’s title because I had originally intended to blog about some local Miami cemeteries, and well, they are a bit forlorn. But time got away from me, so I would be pleased if you’d join me for a continuation of my graveyard ambles. In the future: Silver Green “negro” cemetery near Homestead, Florida, and Pinewood Cemetery in Coral Gables.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on January 11, 2013 by in art, cemetery, History, imaging, nature, New York, tree and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Take a look at my collection of photos on Flickr

%d bloggers like this: