Benches in the fashion of Tree Shaped Tombstones are rather pretty things. Functional too.
So, why didn't they catch on? Well, as I walked around Forest Lawn Cemetery in St. Paul it soon became obvious that these memorials had some issues with design. Now, the above specimen is on a nice solid foundation of cement. Some were not, and displayed variable levels of sinking and tilting...
Even the specimens that are mostly upright had problems. It is just plain sad to see things like this...
These things are heavy, and unlike conventional tombstones they have long, weight bearing segments across the back and seat of the bench. It is not always easy to tell, but in numerous instances it looked as if these components had been replaced after breakage, going from the original limestone to either cement or some other sort of stone. For instance:
Clearly both units have been replaced. In my previous post I noted numbers carved into the benches. This seems very unlikely to have been allowed in the original production of the memorials....what family would accept delivery with crude numbers scratched on them? But as markers on replacement parts years later, I could buy that.
It is a little disturbing to see something designed to last forever fall into disrepair.
But I guess there is only so much you can do with a flawed design, or at a minimum, one not well suited to the extremes of northern climates.
In times past, and even today, there were often monument companies located near cemeteries. Perhaps there was one close to hand that specialized in this interesting style of tombstone. They certainly seemed to turn up at Forest Lawn in abundance, but have to be regarded as rare birds overall.