Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Cave Hill Cemetery - Free!

Last week, the Biker got an extra day off for Turkey-day and the weather finally decided to co-operate. (Ok, it was in the 50s, but sunny) He asked me if there was anything I wanted to do, and I immediately said, "Cave Hill Cemetery." He programmed it into the GPS and off we zoomed  - after he pointed out that 'normal' people would probably want to do something related to either the Derby or Bourbon. You know, cuz we're in Louisville.

(clicking on any photo will open it up to full size)
Cave Hill Cemetery was opened in 1848. The City had no plans for a garden-style cemetery, but the designer quickly realized it was the easiest way to work with the old farm's hills and ditches. The cemetery's entrance was built in 1892 and features a bell tower with a 2,000 bell. 
Cave Hill is a very large cemetery. It has 296 acres, five lakes, and a natural spring that comes from its namesake cave. The cemetery also contains 600 species of plants.
This is the Eastin grave - a wife's loving memorial to her husband. Since it was winter and we wanted to get home before dark, we were only able to walk through a few sections. There are many more graves we would have liked to have seen if we had more time; especially Sam's swingBarney Bright's grave and nude sculpture, the Wilder monument, and the Heffner grave
When I went back to look at the photos later, I spotted what might be a white bronze monument in this picture. I wished I'd noticed at the time - I could have checked to see if the monument was hollow or not!
The cemetery contains sixteen miles of winding roads. The vistas and beauty of the place are breathtaking.
There are 195,000 people buried here. The cemetery is still in use, and sees around 500-600 burials a year. There is also a scatter garden by one lake, for those who prefer cremation.
There are angels and birds everywhere, many of them exquisitely carved.
The grounds are beautifully kept, and the cemetery has a system where families can ensure regular upkeep of both the graves and the plants.
Another forest of obelisks, just beyond the Cave Hill National Cemetery, which in the northwest corner. 
There are a few Woodsmen graves at Cave Hill, but this is not one of them. In the background is the Thompson family grave site, marked by a large tree stump monument The family members graves are marked with log-shaped headstones.
An elaborately carved Celtic cross marks the Strater gravesite.
There are many modern sculptures, too,
including favorite pets.
A mother and her young son were feeding the swans and ducks. We couldn't resist snapping a picture of this little guy, waddling around in mid-molt.
This imposing obelisk marks D.C. Parr's grave. His parrot, Pretty Polly, is buried behind his grave.
The cemetery does have several mausoleums, in a rather bewildering range of styles.
I believe this gothic one is the Gheens Masoleum.
One of the most heartbreaking memorials we saw. These three small angels mark the graves of a family's three children.
The cemetery also contains the graves of 200 Confederate soldiers, and a small memorial. As somebody proud to have family members who fought in the Union army, I find myself torn by the controversy. It's all to easy to forget that most of these graves and memorials were paid for by grieving women, who had lost sons, brothers, and husbands. 
Over 5,500 soldiers are buried in the National Cemetery section.
Eleven soldiers of the 32nd Indiana Infantry were the first soldiers interred here. They died in 1861, and were later moved to Cave Hill.
The 32nd Indiana Infantry Monument is the nation's oldest Civil War monument. This is a replica of the original monument, which has been removed for conservation. Because the 32nd were German-Americans, the monument has inscriptions in both English and German.
The cemetery staff is active in not just caring for the cemetery, but making it a place that honors and remembers its dead. One recent project was to find the names of the 200 children buried in this plot and then create a suitable memorial. The statue's base has plaques with the children's names.
I think it's fitting we close this post with Muhammad Ali's grave site. He personally picked the site himself, and asked that it be open to the public and filled with lots of color. The cemetery has honored his request, and added a quote by him, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room in Heaven." RIP, Ali.