What fun! File under ‘crazy stuff’ a Gothic pillar with two flaming pillar-ettes in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
One sees standalone columns often enough, and plentiful variants of the giant standalone cross. My thought here is that this form was offered as a Christian alternative to the obelisk, which, as you know, has ancient Egyptian roots.
A religiously-based preference for Gothic over pagan-derived forms was actually a thing during the great age of American monumental art (roughly 1890-1930), and for evidence we can turn to the 1932 Presbrey-Leland catalogue: “There is a revival of Gothic architecture in America and it is influencing the design of mausoleums. Traditionally the Christian spiritual style, Gothic architecture is peculiarly appropriate for commemorative art. . . .” “most of the mausolea in our cemeteries today are conventional—and too often stereotyped—adaptations of the pagan temples of ancient Greece and Rome. . . .”
Eternal flames dance above the somewhat altar-like grave markers of Thomas (figure 2) and Blanche (figure 3) Sullivan. I suppose that notionally the masses are reservoirs of oil.