Saturday, May 27, 2006

view from beyond

After seeing a cemetery photo on another blog yesterday morning, I decided to drive over to the Golden Hill Cemetery a few miles from where I live. Many of the people buried here in this old hill section died of 'consumption' and many of them were paupers. The cemetery is not completely fenced so there is access from several sides. I arrived around 8:30 a.m. and the sun was bright and the temperature rapidly rising. The first thing that struck me was how dry this hillside is. I don’t believe that this cemetery is ever watered and the small number of burial plots with individual plantings (Iris are common) are bone dry and partially wilted.

I remember reading of groups that go in and clean up overgrown vegetation and assess damage from vandals. I was alone there but there was a large dumpster partially full of tree limbs and evidence of on-going pruning of the trees. The ground is crunchy and many of the plants are weedy. Even many of the trees are the kind you find in waste areas.

Golden Hill reeks of neglect and decline but yet there is the hint of former grandeur. There are many elegant headstones, some that look as if they were just set when in fact, most of them are from the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s or earlier. The hillside setting is majestic with Green Mountain and the trees of Golden and Denver down below. Looking down the hill is the most poignant view – the newer and regularly tended main section of Golden Hill Cemetery. After getting thoroughly hot and parched, I headed down the hill and across the tree shaded, ditch-lined street to the new cemetery. I walked around and was unable to find an open gate. On the far side I found the main entrance, with a sign that said they are closed on Saturdays. I will have to go back to get a few shots of the contrast between the two cemeteries. They each have a view of the other. Online you can view photos of some of the headstones. While headstones are interesting, I am more fascinated by the ambiance and view that belongs to the spirits that were laid to rest here. I wonder how it came to be so neglected.


At 8:45 AM, Blogger Monterey John said...

Oh my, that is both sad and glorious at the same time. Someone needs to start something to raise some money to preserve the cemetary. Good subject matter and shots, thanks for the good work.

At 6:07 PM, Blogger the old bag said...

Love the post -- one of my favorite places to explore is an old cemetary. Last summer on a bike trip in Maine we came across several...lots of history.


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