Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tree Shaped Tombstones - Merrillan Wisconsin

Supposedly the village of Merrillan got its start when local land owner Leander Merrill sent a representative to the offices of the West Wisconsin Railroad asking them to change the proposed route of their line to the town site.  A few winks and a $75,000 consideration did the trick.

It is a modest little hamlet now but has some rather nice tree shaped tombstones in the cemetery just east of town.

Your basic model.  Nice anchor though.

This one is rather more ornate.  The stylized branch on the upper right disturbs me.  Doesn't it look exactly like a clutching, skeletal hand?

Another nice anchor.  The local rock chipper had a certain flair with these.

The yellow lichen that adheres to these monuments adds quite a bit to their visual appeal.  But once in a while you find one that has so much of the darned stuff that it covers most of the carving.  Too much of a good thing I guess.

The most interesting "Tree Shaped Tombstone" on the place was of course a far newer one. This caught my eye.....and I immediately came up with a theory.  Can you guess?

Calvin Frelk was born in the Chicago area and spent his younger days as a utility lineman.  In 1955 he and his brother George invested in their first Wisconsin property dedicated to raising Christmas trees.  Through a long and successful career Calvin grew an awful lot of trees and served at various times as the President of both the Wisconsin and the National Christmas Tree Associations.

He met his wife Arlene at a roller skating rink in the 1940s.  They had been married for 60 years at the time of his death.  The image of two trees side by side but with branches growing together is just perfect.  Nicer, don't you think, than the stark, barren dead tree stumps of the earlier tradition?

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