Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Topeka Cemetery

Several weeks ago, I was a part of a private tour of the Topeka Cemetery.  I’ll admit I have only visited small town and rural cemeteries—where our families and friends are buried. 

I find any cemetery interesting and have written about them before.  What we found at the Topeka cemetery is city history and beauty.

Our tour guide is the curator.  He looked to be in his 50s and has worked there since high school.  His father worked there before.  He loves his job and takes pride in not only knowing who is buried but stories about them or their families. This was his quote, “You are only dead when forgotten.” For him,  not many were forgotten in Topeka cemetery.

The history of Topeka and even beyond is among the stones.  One will find marker of the person who laid out the streets of the city,  the family who built the major hospital, all familiar names.  And, driving around Topeka, many streets carry names that are on stones in the cemetery.   Also, there are names not familiar, but lived and loved in this community.  I have a few pictures.  I will keep most of them small to keep the post from being overburdened.  Really, though, the only way to appreciate it is to stop by and walk through.

P4090044    This picture shows the Topeka downtown skyline in the background.

P4090045 Notice that this monument appears only partly finished.  This signifies the honored person died early in life.

P4090049This  obelisk was broken off when a tree blew into it during a violent storm, not the 1966 Topeka tornado, however.  This is in addition to the one in the top picture.  There are several more in the cemetery.

P4090050 Early on, each family had a fence around their plot and burials were made in patterns, often in a circle around a large stone with the family name.   They took all the fences down once power mowers came into use.  The two steps in this picture led up into one such plot.

P4090052

P4090053

Civil War memorial.

P4090054 Finally, this lady was probably the anchor of her family.

1 comment:

Ontario Wanderer said...

I have mixed feelings about cemeteries as I used to help my grandfather and father mow three or four of the local ones. My job was to use a hand clippers to cut the grass around each tombstone. My back is still sore thinking about that.