Memorial Park Cemetery

We haven’t had much snow in St. Louis this winter (not that I’m complaining) so when the snowflakes finally fell from the sky last week, I thought I’d visit a cemetery and take some pictures. Why not, right? So I stopped by Memorial Park Cemetery, which is located at 5200 Lucas and Hunt Rd. It’s a private, family owned cemetery that has been in operation since 1919. It’s right off Highway 70 but once you enter the gates, a peaceful serenity envelops you. It feels like you’re taking a quiet walk in the country.

The cemetery staff are very friendly and visitors can get a map from the office (Memorial Park has 165 acres of land so you can easily get lost). On their website they state that 50 acres are underdeveloped and “prime spaces are still available.” They even offer coupons. Really. Anyway, here are some of the pictures I took. Alas, most of the snow had melted but there was still some white stuff to be seen:

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Everlasting Love in the Cemetery

Valentines heart

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. I don’t celebrate the holiday any more…I used to when I was young (and naive). But now that I’ve grown into a cynical adult, I don’t see the point of buying an over-priced card or receiving over-priced flowers or eating an over-priced dinner on February 14 just because the card/flower/restaurant industry demands it. And Gravetender Hubby agrees with me. We’re both cynical adults so it works for us:)

However, I did find this story about “A Mystery of Eternal Love” to be sweet and romantic:

Over 50,000 flowers have been placed on the grave of a young girl who died almost 145 years ago in Freiburg, Germany. Who places them there, no one knows. Every morning, under summer’s sun and winter’s snow, a fresh flower has been placed on the grave of Caroline Christine Walter.

Caroline Walter and her beloved older sister Selma moved to Freiburg to live with their grandmother after their parents died. She went to a school for young ladies and by the time she reached the age of 16, she already had a number of admirers who were attracted by her young beauty. When her sister married, Caroline happily went to live with her and her new husband.

In the early summer of 1867, just before she turned 17, Caroline contracted tuberculosis and passed away a few short weeks later.

Her sister Selma wanted to create a lasting memorial and asked a sculptor to cast a grave in her sister’s likeness. The life size and life like sculpture depicts Caroline just as if she fell asleep reading in her own bed.

Caroline Christine Walter (1850-1867)

The grave was placed against one of the outer walls of the Alter Friedhof cemetery which had already been in existence for more than 200 years. It was a peaceful setting, made more peaceful by the beautiful grave of the sleeping girl.

It was soon after Caroline passed away, and the flowers on her grave from the funeral were wilting, that her sister began to notice that a fresh flower was always on the grave when she visited. Months and then years passed and still no one had discovered who might be leaving the flowers. The cemetery groundskeepers could provide no clue but perhaps they were sworn to s

In the early summer of 1867, just before she turned 17, Caroline contracted tuberculosis and passed away a few short weeks later.

Her sister Selma wanted to create a lasting memorial and asked a sculptor to cast a grave in her sister’s likeness. The life size and life like sculpture depicts Caroline just as if she fell asleep reading in her own bed.

The grave was placed against one of the outer walls of the Alter Friedhof cemetery which had already been in existence for more than 200 years. It was a peaceful setting, made more peaceful by the beautiful grave of the sleeping girl.

It was soon after Caroline passed away, and the flowers on her grave from the funeral were wilting, that her sister began to notice that a fresh flower was always on the grave when she visited. Months and then years passed and still no one had discovered who might be leaving the flowers. The cemetery groundskeepers could provide no clue but perhaps they were sworn to secrecy.

Caroline had never mentioned any young man in particular to Selma however legends abound. The most common one is that the flowers were placed by one of Caroline’s tutors who had fallen in love with her and mourned her passing for the rest of his life. But, even had he lived to be a hundred, he still would have died more than half a century ago. Did he leave instructions for future generations to carry on the tradition?

Today, only a little sunlight filters through the boughs of the trees overhead, moss has grown over the place where she sleeps but every morning since that fateful day in 1867, a fresh flower blooms on Caroline’s grave.

What a wonderful story! Maybe there is hope for this world yet…I shouldn’t be so cynical.

Do you have any stories about everlasting love?

How the Rich Get Six Feet Under

Bigelow Chapel, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambrid...

Bigelow Chapel, Mt. Auburn Cemetery

Even in death the rich still have it all. If you’re a member of the 1% club, snagging a spot in a ‘luxury’ cemetery can cost over $500,000. No simple pine box for these folks – when it comes to lying six feet under, only the very best will do:

A final resting place at Donald Trump’s golf course in New Jersey will surely cost a lot, but will be a bargain compared to some of the country’s other swanky cemeteries.

 Trump announced this week he is considering building a 1.5-acre cemetery next to his high-end golf course in Bedminster where members pay a lifetime fee of as much as $300,000. If they want to stay beyond that, they most likely will pay a membership fee that includes burial, Trump consultant Ed Russo says.

But the fairway to heaven won’t cost what some premium plots cost elsewhere if the plan gets state and local approval.

Putting one’s name on the most permanent of marquees can reach several million dollars at the most exclusive cemeteries in the country. In comparison, the median cost of a funeral was $6,560 in 2009, the most recent yearly figure from the National Funeral Directors Association.

At Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass., a National Historic Landmark renowned for its landscaping, the choicest piece of pond-front property costs upward of half a million dollars, said Sean O’Regan, vice president of cemetery services and operations.

“While you’re not purchasing real estate — you’re purchasing burial rights — it’s definitely location, location, location,” O’Regan said.

The Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, which was designated last year as a National HistoricLandmark, is popular among the wealthy and famous. Burial arrangements can range from $600 for cremated remains to $3.5 million for an historic private mausoleum more than 100 years old, Woodlawn President John Toale said.

The Frank E. Campbell funeral home in New York’s Manhattan is the go-to place for celebrity funerals. In its 115 years of business, the home has arranged final rites for the titans of New York industry, famous sports figures, politicians and countless celebrities, Vice President Dominic Carella said.

And they say that you can’t take it with you when you die…apparently some people can.