I'd been trying to gain entrance to this cemetery for months. It was my first choice when I decided to go cemeterying that day several months back. I paced the sidewalk peering through the fence like a puppy looking out a window at a cat. The markers were lovely, but more intriguing was the disarray in two areas, one to the far left and the other to the far right. Little did I know just how incredible the whole place would be.

It was a Saturday, and due to it being the Jewish Sabbath, the cemetery was closed. The sign stated it was open Sunday-Friday until 4:30 p.m. Several times from then until today, I'd attempted to go during the posted hours, but somehow, the gates were always closed.

That first day, I'd longingly stared through the fencing separating the Wunder's Cemetery grounds on which I stood from the Hebrew Benevolent grounds. Through the fence I saw an overgrowth of foliage, in which many markers stood in hiding. I walked the length of the fencing, hoping they'd somehow be connected. Unfortunately, they weren't.

Now today, finally, ready to find the gates shut tight as per usual, I started with excitement as I noticed a narrow gate next to the locked vehicle gate partially opened. I squeezed in and took a few steps, in total awe. Almost immediately, I was hit with a feeling not unlike that which I had at Bachelor's Grove. There was a thickness in the air, a feeling that all was not settled. Just on the other side of the fence at Wunder's, I'd experienced absolute serenity. Here, the peacefulness was mingled with some sort of energy. Like the other city cemeteries, I didn't hear the busy city streets just beyond the gates, however.

Even though this cemetery is still being used (I did view a fresh, as yet unmarked grave), it felt like I'd was in a very old place. The others all had equally antiquated graves, but this one possessed some wild, unkempt areas, much like Bachelor's Grove. To the far left was a very thickly covered area, the one which I'd seen from the cemetery next to it. I wanted to just march right in, but something kept me from doing so, despite that it was mid-afternoon.

I couldn't resist entirely, though, as I did tentatively step through some of the brush to a narrow pathway to view a few of the almost-hidden stones. There were still more I'd liked to have seen, but there was no chance of me going into the dense brush alone, daytime or not.

There was a similarly unkempt area to the far right of the cemetery as well, though not as thickly covered as the left.

One thing that caught my eye in this cemetery repeatedly were the overturned markers and the sinking markers. So many had toppled, including one large column marker (see photo below), and still more were slowly being devoured by the earth. There were also several sunken areas and a few pushed up areas (probably by tree roots). I half expected to see some caskets seeking the quiet air in a few spots. Thankfully, I didn't.

I can definitely say this cemetery was well worth the wait. I hope to go back and further explore - this time with a friend!

- August 23, 2002

Bachelor's Grove
Graceland Cemetery
You are here! Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery
Rosehill Cemetery
Wunder's Cemetery
Chihuly in the Park
  This is a view of the left-middle of the cemetery.

Venturing to the back portion of the cemetery, barely traipsing into the dense brushy areas.

This is a particularly lovely marker, just on the edge of the thick foliage to the left of the cemetery. A few more can be spotted hiding near it.

A few sinking markers can be seen, and beyond the strange little branch fence were more markers, but I couldn't get up the nerve to go too close.

I found a friend.

Curiosity kept me walking when I spotted this from afar. I thought maybe it was piping being installed in a dug-out ditch, but alas, it was a fallen marker, shining like it was new.

If you look closely, the carving in the oval was once a man's face. Only the bearded chin remains. There was another one next to this marker, but it was even more eroded.

  One of the more shocking sinkings.

A squirrel sits atop a marker as the trees close in.

The striking marker of a young man among the rampant nature on the far right of the cemetery.
For some reason, I was very drawn to this large marker. I didn't crop out the cars as I wanted to illustrate the proximity to busy Clark Street.

An interesting spot on the far right. I just loved this marker.

The greeting marker of the cemetery.


Last Update: August, 2002
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