Art

Beautiful Granite Sculptures of Hope Cemetery

I often view cemeteries as little towns for the deceased, many times wonder what it would feel like to live nearby. I lack the ability to communicate with the dead, wanted so bad to communicate and dream of my mom, but that has only happened once or twice since she passed. Some of my sisters are more fortunate, as my second sister often dreams of my mom, as if she were still alive and well, this I would give anything to be able to do.

calvary-cemetery.jpgSome of these cemeteries are the resting places of many famous people; I grew up in Queens NY which is known as the Cemetery Belt because there are more than 5 millions of the departed, including the famous and the infamous from Mae West to Lucky Luciano, almost triple the live population of Queens are buried in 29 Queens cemeteries, as one could imagine how crowded Queens is.

Then I came across a cemetery in Barre, Vermont, a town known as the Granite Capital of the World, as Hope cemetery presents a rich and distinguished history of memorial art in stone, one of the oldest expressions of American Culture. For these reasons, Hope exerts a profound influence on the memorial art of other cemeteries throughout the country.

Hope Cemetery, first opened in 1895, is 85-acres spread across a hillock of well-manicured grass. Despite the variety of memorial design, there is a uniformity not seen in other cemeteries. That’s because every one of the 10,000+ monuments is made of Barre Gray granite.

The cemetery is a popular tourist destination, oft bundled with Rock of Ages quarry tours. Visitors can stroll the grounds and pay their respects to older sculptures, or ponder more contemporary works, such as an enigmatic cube balanced on one corner. Below are beautiful sculptures…that art lovers will definitely enjoy.

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A half-size replica of race car #61 celebrates local driver Joey Laquerre, Jr, who died in a 1991 snowmobile mishap.

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“The Empty Chair.” Perhaps future Bettinis will eternally rest beneath “The Plasma TV.”

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Hobbies of the dead are remembered, with a soccer ball.

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Brusa’s own grave features a strange sculpture of “The Dying Man,” slipping away, held by his wife.

Source

THANATOPSIS

by: William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

    • O him who in the love of Nature holds
      Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
      A various language; for his gayer hours
      She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
      And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
      Into his darker musings, with a mild
      And healing sympathy, that steals away
      Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts
      Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
      Over thy spirit, and sad images
      Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
      And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
      Make thee to shudder and grow sick at heart;–
      Go forth, under the open sky, and list
      To Nature’s teachings, while from all around–
      Earth and her waters, and the depths of air–
      Comes a still voice–Yet a few days, and thee
      The all-beholding sun shall see no more
      In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
      Where thy pale form was laid with many tears,
      Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
      Thy image. Earth, that nourish’d thee, shall claim
      Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
      And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
      Thine individual being, shalt thou go
      To mix for ever with the elements,
      To be a brother to the insensible rock,
      And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
      Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
      Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.
      Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
      Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
      Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
      With patriarchs of the infant world–with kings,
      The powerful of the earth–the wise, the good,
      Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
      All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
      Rock-ribb’d and ancient as the sun,–the vales
      Stretching in pensive quietness between;
      The venerable woods; rivers that move
      In majesty, and the complaining brooks
      That make the meadows green; and, pour’d round all,
      Old Ocean’s grey and melancholy waste,–
      Are but the solemn decorations all
      Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
      The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
      Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
      Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
      The globe are but a handful to the tribes
      That slumber in its bosom.–Take the wings
      Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
      Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
      Where rolls the Oregon and hears no sound
      Save his own dashings–yet the dead are there:
      And millions in those solitudes, since first
      The flight of years began, have laid them down
      In their last sleep–the dead reign there alone.
      So shalt thou rest: and what if thou withdraw
      In silence from the living, and no friend
      Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
      Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
      When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
      Plod on, and each one as before will chase
      His favourite phantom; yet all these shall leave
      Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
      And make their bed with thee. As the long train
      Of ages glides away, the sons of men,
      The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes
      In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
      The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man–
      Shall one by one be gathered to thy side
      By those who in their turn shall follow them.
      So live, that when thy summons comes to join
      The innumerable caravan which moves
      To that mysterious realm where each shall take
      His chamber in the silent halls of death,
      Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
      Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain’d and soothed
      By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
      Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
      About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

6 thoughts on “Beautiful Granite Sculptures of Hope Cemetery”

  1. Cemeteries use to really spook me out, but now I am at peace when I drive pass them.

    I wonder why Hope Cemetery decide to use only Barre Gray granite. Is it because they want it to be more uniform or is that the type of rock people prefer? Interesting selection of photos.

    1. they use only Barre Gray Granite because Hope Cemetery is in Barre, duh. It wasn’t always the rule, but later become one as the cemetery became a tourist destination.

      1. Libby, thanks for your visit and comment. I think it’s more obvious for the local, but I guess we were just curious as to why only Gray Granite, why not other colors when most cemetery allow you to select the color that you want, just a thought.

  2. Hi Salat, I’m not certain as to why they only use Barre Gray granite, might be that it’s the natural resource of the town. I think the Barre Gray granite is the cheapest (still expensive IMO) comparing to other colors, this is based on my observation when I purchased a name plate for my mom, gray granite was the cheapest and black and red are more expensive.

  3. It’s been so long since I read this in High School and College, many years ago. But not until now do I appreciate and comprehend what words, when properly composed, can really do to the soul. I can picture Anne Shirley reciting these lines as she wondered through the woods, or lying on a skiff predending to be dead; actually it’s kind of similar to “The Highwayman” poem she recited at White Sands Hotel, the idea of death that is, well somewhat.

    “All that tread
    The globe are but a handful to the tribes
    That slumber in its bosom.”

    We cannot escape it, but must do in life what we deem best so that when our time comes, we may go gently…and accept, It is time. I hope there is more than just a ‘pleasant dream,’ the universe is so so…the thought of not experiencing or seeing other parts of it just seems useless. I have this notion that our soul becomes like a beam of light and we can go anywhere and everywhere in a mere thought:))…the closest analogy would be kind of like ‘Calcifer, the fire-demon’ in Howl’s Moving Castle, but of course smaller and faster, undetectable by the human eyes or consciousness.

    1. PaNoy, I like hearing Anne recited her line, she has such a vivid imagination and that’s what I love about her. It’s been a while since I watched the movie, I need to watch it again when I have more time.

      I think your comparison to Calcifer is a good one. One never really know what would happen after we die, but we all have faith that there is something there, as for most, something beautiful worth looking forward to, but I can’t say that I feel that way, since my mom’s death, I don’t like to think or talk about dying. 😦

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