Friday, March 10, 2017

National Bohemian Cemetery - Fallen Timber

There were a lot of unusual things about the National Bohemian Cemetery in Chicago, and I again suggest a visit to any serious student of Tree Shaped Tombstones.  One thing that I found surprising in this well kept establishment was how many of my favorite monuments were "fallen", that is, lying flat on the ground.

Now granted I visited in late February and after a winter of freeze/thaw that makes the ground shift about I was not surprised to see one fallen tree.  But then I saw another, and another.

It was of course an opportunity to study the methods - seemingly rather flawed - by which these monuments were erected.

National Bohemian had an amazing number of the taller varients of Tree Shaped tombstones. Having more weight to balance I suspect they are more prone to tipping.  Note in the background an array of more conventional markers....all with sturdy, squat bases.  

Another tree goes down.

Here's the base of this one.  Flat, shallow looking slab of cement with lots of cracks.

Yet another tombstone down.  Again with the shoddy looking cracked foundation.  Note the central hole for, I think, a metal lifting tong.  Also the rough surface.  If it was for masonry this has all been leached away.  Perhaps it was left rough because nobody thought it would ever be visible.

Tree shaped tombstones were very disproportionately represented in the "tipped over" category that day.  But I don't suspect hooliganism.  This was a nicely kept up place and anyway, hooligans are rarely that selective.  But check out this "leaner" that will probably not stay standing for too many more seasons.

And other, better supported monuments are not immune to the actions of the elements.  Here a solid granite marker is listing aside as if recoiling in horror at the collapse of its neighbor.

Note to self.  When commisioning the over-the-top monument that will mark our final resting place (squirrels! monkeys! A little tree house!) don't skimp on the foundation.

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