Due to the crazy weather, crazy schedules and the busy times of the upcoming holidays, the Mystery Cemetery Tours will begin in Spring 2014.
The Mystery Tours will be scheduled ahead of time, but participants won't know which cemetery we'll be visiting until the day of or at least not long before the tour date or time.
Suggestions for the Mystery Tours are currently being accepted. You may email your ideas to email@example.com.
Thanks again to everyone who attended my presentation at Oakdale's Victorian Day yesterday #omgvictorianday2013. Thank you especially to Patty and Roger who came all the way from Rockford. It was great to see you again after meeting you in Fulton a while back! I enjoyed speaking at the Windmill Center (real name of it?); it’s a really nice place. It was also great to hear about your involvement with historical groups. Keep up the great work!
It was also great to meet Taylor and her mom. I took a peek at your profile, Taylor, and the photos of you in the cemetery are awesome! What cemetery were you in? Thanks for buying an “I
And thank you all for understanding when I totally switched gears.
When you realize in the middle of things that you're just going in the wrong (boring) direction, you have to just stop, quickly take stock in the situation, and make it right. I had reviewed my presentation on Oakdale and the Civil War from last year and made some tweaks. It had made sense at the time because all the information was correct. But here's the deal. It was boring. Very boring. I don't recall it being boring last year, and I honestly don't know why. If you've heard me speak before, boring facts and figures are not my MO. My thing is to show people my passion for cemeteries and why they are so cool. And, boy, did I start flopping.
So instead of continuing down that path, I decided not to torture the nice people in attendance (and they were really great). I took a whole new route and showed them photos from my Bonaventure Cemetery visit (in Savannah, Ga.) and talked to them about the wonders of that park. I think I redeemed myself--I hope I redeemed myself. :) At least they got to see some wonderful sculptures, especially those by artist John Walz.
The Zotz mausoleum, dated 1893.
(6/6/13 - I had some technical difficulties with this post, but now the rest of it is loaded as well as the gallery.)
Okay, okay. I know I posted on my website 3 DAYS AGO that you could see more photos from Springdale when you click on my blog link. And, yet, when you clicked on it, you got nada. Usually I don't say this (because it's just goofy), but, my bad. Ack. I can't believe I just typed that.
But, as promised, there are photos. And I'm going to share them with you!
Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, Illinois, was founded in 1855. The grounds consist of 225 acres and more than six miles of roadways "winding through its hills and valleys." Nearly 70,000 people are interred there, "with room for many more." But "hills and valleys" doesn't really cut it when describing this cemetery. Driving through the grounds, you suddenly feel like you've driven right into a forest or a state park. There is a stream that runs through part of the grounds (it starts small and get quite wide). There are two bridges over the stream that are more functional than ornamental but still have some ornamentation on them. There is a fantastic soldiers lot.
Contemporary monuments blend well with traditional and unique older stones. I had a fantastic time wandering the grounds, enjoying the natural beauty as well as the gravestones. I wasn't the only one. There were plenty of people walking and jogging along the pathways.
There are 15 mausolea at Springdale. The one shown above is the Zotz mausoleum, dated 1893. It was built into one of the hillsides and features carvings of oak leaves and wreaths.
I have included some of the highlights of Springdale Cemetery in the slideshow below. Enjoy!
Jeane Trend-Hill in City of London Cemetery, London, England. "This is one of my favourite monuments, Gladys Spencer reclining on her piano. Gladys was a teacher and something of a music hall star."
Meet Jeane Trend-Hill, Headstone Hunter, Essex, England
How long have you been interested in cemeteries and why? My love of cemeteries began as a young child when I visited family member’s graves with my parents. Whilst the adults chatted and arranged flowers, I would wander off and look at all the angels, doves and crosses. I was struck by their beauty and as I got older I began photographing them purely for my own enjoyment. I have since gone on to set up the Silent Cities Project - I’ve produced a series of cemetery photography books, studied grave symbolism and Mortuary Science and I am also involved with monument restoration and preservation to help future generations enjoy an important part of our history and heritage.
What are your favorite cemeteries? (we all have more than one!) In no particular order - San Michelle in Venice, it’s an entire cemetery island. Pouble Nou in Barcelona Spain for the amazing ‘Kiss of death’ monument, which is a winged skeleton figure lifting a man for the final kiss goodbye. Highgate Cemetery London, beautifully gothic and romantic, Kensal Green Cemetery London for its array of different memorials, and I have just returned from Central Cemetery Zentralfriedhof Vienna Austria where all the composers like Mozart and Strauss are buried.
What are your favorite monuments? The Kiss of death as I mentioned, along with Mary the sleeping angel on a bed of clouds in Highgate and the resting place of an architect Arthur Beresford Pite in West Norwood Cemetery London, whose building I worked in for many years and I am currently involved in his grave restoration. I like all different sorts of things though, from a simple wooden cross that may have been hand carved with love, to something very elaborate and over the top. I prefer the older monuments (pre 1940), some of the more modern ones seem to be lacking in imagination. Stonemasonry is a lost art, hand carving from a single block of marble or granite and of course few people could afford anything like that now anyway. I also love Victorian catacombs and have been lucky enough to see a few not generally open to the public.
Where is the farthest you've traveled to visit a cemetery? I did a day trip to Barcelona once just to photograph a certain monument, but the furthest ... I have been to Australia twice in 1995 and 1996, but lost my cemetery photos from there due to a computer crash.
What has been the most surprising thing you've seen in a cemetery? The sad state of neglect in some of them, but more usually the things people leave behind. I’ve handed in cameras and phones, watched tiny fox cubs playing, seen rare birds (although I have had to have those pointed out to me), clothing (lets not go there!) and bones of course, although that’s not really surprising.
What do you tell people if they think your cemetery infatuation is weird? I try to show them the beautiful side of cemeteries through my photographs. They are havens for wildlife, flowers and plants and of course the amazing architecture. There is so much history to be found too. I think people are coming round to it more nowadays, but of course there will always be the odd one who thinks I’m weird – that’s fine, there are a lot of us about!!
What cemeteries are on your bucket list? I’d like to get back to the USA one day and also see some of the cemeteries in Berlin and I haven’t finished with Italy yet. I keep on adding to the list!
Visit Jeane's website and Facebook Page.
Now that I've switched to Weebly as my website host, I'm going to give the blogging thing a "go" again. My time is mainly taken up with the website, but Weebly makes my online world easy to manage. So let's see how this goes.
The latest news regarding my speaking engagements is that I will be one of the speakers during Sept. 8 meeting of the Illinois chapter of the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS). It will take place in Springfield, Ill. I'll also be speaking a couple times during Oakdale Memorial Gardens' Forget-Me-Not: Victorian Day on Sept. 22.
I've also got a lot of ideas mulling around in my brain, so it's hard to say what I will come up with next. Send me your feedback and let me know what you think of the new site and if you have any ideas for articles, links, etc. I always enjoy hearing from fellow taphophiles!
I'm the founder and editor of TheCemeteryClub.com and Epitaphs Magazine. I love cemeteries and sharing the art and history of them with anyone who will listen!