Monday, April 25, 2016

Visiting Spring Grove Cemetery

 Yesterday (04/23) Tom and I spent part of the afternoon walking through Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati. It is huge - 733 acres - and it's the second largest cemetery in the United States (the largest is in California). It's also much more than a cemetery: it's also an impressive arboretum.

 We came for both. The cemetery is the site of some of the most impressive monuments I've ever seen. And the natural setting of trees, flowers, ponds and wildlife is unparalleled. We began the day on foot but we ended driving along some of the perimeter roads and still hardly making a dent in what there was to see.

 We picked a perfect day for our sojourn. The skies were sunny and calm and the temperature tickled 70°. We felt we were several weeks late to enjoy the peak of the spring flowers but many of the flowering trees were in full bloom and the timing for perfect for them.

 This display of tulips appeared as flames lapping the earth. We talked to a lady - an employee, perhaps - and she said we made it just in time. Tomorrow they were scheduled to be dug up. Maybe the display is changed each year?

 Throughout the cemetery dogwood was in full bloom. Though this is the traditional one of creamy white, I actually prefer the one that's a delicate color of salmon. Many flowering trees - crabs, cherries, magnolia, etc. - were already past the blooming stage and were beginning to push forth leaves.

 Some trees seemed to be smoldering in shades of red. I didn't get close enough to this one to see what it was. Perhaps these are flowers or perhaps the early leaves themselves.

 Spring Grove is known for the burial of area notables and also the graves of Civil War soldiers. This Civil War cannon was dated 1865. See the next photo for the end of the barrel.

 Bald cypress lined this pond (they require "saturated or seasonally inundated soils") and are surrounded by "cypress knees" as shown in the foreground.

 Another view of cypress knees which extend to a height of several feet.

 Mausoleums dot the cemetery, many incredibly ornate. Even so, the older stone structures - just like the bodies contained therein - are slowly dissolving. Many leave a powder on the hand when rubbed, proof of time's relentless struggle to erode.

 Canada geese flock to the many ponds and nibble grass nearby, or rest in the ample shade. This one eyed us suspiciously but did not rise. When Tom and I crossed a bridge to an island, one goose came towards us in a threatening manner and hissed. I yelled at it and it stopped in its tracks and then we backed off slowly. I did not see any nests nor young.

 This is the Fleischmann mausoleum Tom told me that this is the Cincinnati family of yeast fame. Above the doorway is the family name ...

 There is an interesting stained glass window on the opposite side of the mausoleum as seen through the openings in the iron door. Think of what the window alone cost.

 This swan - perhaps a Trumpeter - glided noiselessly along in one of the ponds.

 This is the bridge Tom and I took to the "island".

 This pine was in full bloom, both the male and female parts hanging red and swollen at eye level.

 Tom on the bridge.

 The dogwood are exquisite. The trees do not grow so large but spread unequally horizontally in an artistic reach. They are everywhere at Spring Grove.

 At the far end of the island many turtles were sunning themselves. By the time I took this shot (using a telephoto from some distance) many has already slid into the cool water and made their way to safety. We did not get close.

 Near the bridge this birch was in full bloom. I do not think of this tree as being ornamental but the hanging seeds were attractive nonetheless.

 I should have written down the name on this mausoleum. It looks more like a lofty Gothic ruin from across the pond.

 Up close, the stonework is intricate and expansive. Imagine the weight of those stones and the incredible work necessary to shape them and move them into place.

 Surely the structure is three stories in height? As with all mausoleums, the door was locked but affixed to it was a fresh bouquet of flowers.

 This is the grave of an Ohio bishop. His likeness stares out from his monument,

 When we drove some of the perimeter roads, we came across this structure. I'd call it a water tower. It seems to have some function for irrigation. Nearby is a large holding pond.

 Doesn't this utilitarian structure fit into the whole? It is massive and yet hides beneath the trees, camouflaged by its likeness to other monuments.

 Near its base if this perfectly-shaped dogwood.

If you're interesting in visiting, here are some links that will help:


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