Vernacular monuments

Stephen G. Venets cross, Oakwood Cemetery, Falls Church, VA. Photo: author. The Venets cross was at a quite fresh burial. I suspected it was temporary until a stone monument could arrive. The visible deformation of the wood by the mallet and the chisel strokes of the name are nice touches. Sort of “old west.” Daniel […]

But “Y” that way, we wonder still

Sometimes when you go through your pictures I assume you discover things you didn’t notice at the time of the snap, as I did here. This is the monument of John Yarrow, born in London, 1800, died in Savannah, 1855. It’s ridiculous. John Yarrow monument, Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia. 1855. Photo: author. Please forgive the […]

Tom and Dewey

The Columbia Gardens Cemetery here in Arlington provides an object lesson in the contrasts between a monument of the great age of American monumental art and architecture in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the current fallen state of almost every aspect of that art. The mausoleum of Admiral George Dewey (1837-1917), once […]

Ζωή σε εσάς και να θυμόσαστε

There is an offbeat monument in the Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, VA. It commemorates Thalia Vassilatos Warnement (August 3, 1967 – January 13, 2009). From a distance it looks quite conventional, one of those little be-columned pediments you see all the time. Find a Grave relates that, unhappily, she died far too young, of […]

Thank you, God.

That’s what I said to myself when I got within reading distance of the Lansburgh monument in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C. From three sides it is nondescript freestanding sarcophagus with a lid imitating a temple roof. At the corners are stylized WPA federal style columns, merely sketched in. On one short side it […]

Some notes on Jerry Goldsmith’s Poltergeist score

If you have a copy of the Poltergeist soundtrack (1982, Jerry Goldsmith), have a listen to the first track (The Calling/The Neighborhood). Pay attention at about 3:24 to 3:47, which is the sprightly theme where we come into the neighborhood and all is sunlight and mischievous kids and men on small bicycles carrying beer. The […]

Charles Ladislaus Council Rogers Bass funerary portrait

Charles Ladislaus Council Rogers Bass monument, 1880. Detail: inscription. Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown. Photo: author. IN MEMORYOF CHARLES LADIOLANS COUNCIL ROGERS BASS.DIED MARCH 13 1879.THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY HIS DISCONSOLATE MOTHER,EUGENIA BASS BERTINATTI. Eugenia Patience Bate (1826-1906), who was from Tennessee and later Mississippi, had two husbands. The first, Council Rogers Bass (1810-1855) gave […]

The Rose Keeling Hutchins funerary portrait

Here’s the Egyptian revival mausoleum of the Hutchins-Keeling distended family in Rock Creek Cemetery. Hutchins-Keeling mausoleum. Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author. “Distended” because we seem to have a case of a well-heeled man, Stilson Hutchins (1838-1912) who married a new wife, Rose Keeling (1867-1926), in 1890. It was a May-December thing, by the […]

The J. Henley Smith funerary portrait

J. Henley Smith Mausoleum, Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author. This is the J[ames]. Henley Smith Mausoleum in Rock Creek Cemetery. It was designed by Worthington and Ahrens, built by Leland and Hall about 1910. The sum budgeted for it was $20,000, with $2000 more made over to the trustees of the cemetery for […]