Forgotten Cemeteries, Abandoned Blog Posts
By Emily Austin on April 23, 2013
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C and I have been going on a lot of walks lately. She gets into this strange baby hypnosis mode when we’re out exploring and sometimes for fun I wave my palm in front of her face to determine how zonked she is. She swats it away and is like, “LADY, I was in a reverie. Way to go breaking it.”
Down the road and to the left of our apartment building is a small development of homes – one of those neighborhoods that looks like it was probably put together on a long weekend. Vinyl siding, no trees over six feet tall, houses that are basically the same but all have an arched second story window to hint at architectural originality. There are sidewalks over most of the development and there isn’t a lot of traffic, so that’s where we go.
A couple weeks ago as we were walking, we turned down an unexplored street and I saw a large, black, wrought-iron arch in the distance. As we neared it, I realized that it was the entrance to a small family cemetery. It was strange to see such an ancient, solemn space interjected among starter homes where I would not want to spend a lifetime.
I parked C’s stroller and looked around. All the tombstones were quite old; the most recent marker was from a death in 1988 but it was definitely an outlier, as most of the stones were from deaths that occurred from the 1840s to the 1920s. Most were broken and toppled and the largest one – presumably the one for which the family cemetery was named – even had graffiti on it.
The wind started gusting since it was a cemetery and that’s what it’s supposed to do, and C got fussy just sitting there while I sated my morbid fascination, so we turned back for home a few minutes later.
Back home, I googled the cemetery and the only thing I could find was an old (by Internet standards) description of the place from 2001 that described the cemetery and its location. At that time, the subdivision was still just a glimmer in its big box developer’s eye so only a dirt road could lead you to it. And the writer of the description advised a four-wheel drive vehicle to get you to it should you want to visit it yourself. What struck me most was that it was described as “abandoned” even back in 2001. The description was wistful: “This cemetery is in bad condition with many broken headstones. I had to piece some of them together just to read them.”
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