Sunday, January 23, 2011

Barnes Hecker

I came across this photo of the rather odd Ely Township Centennial/Barnes Hecker mine disaster memorial while scanning my dad's slide collection.  He took the photo shortly after the marker was erected. The marker has since been moved to the grounds of the Michigan Mining Industry Museum in Negaunee Township -- I'm not sure why. The marker was not at the actual mine site to begin with, so it wouldn't seem to make much sense to move it from one township to another.  The marker used to be next to US-41 a few miles west of Ishpeming.

It always struck me as an odd memorial -- the combination of commemorating the township centennial with remembering what is still considered one of the worst mining disasters in US history is a bit strange.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Four Sabine County, Texas, cemeteries

The Mt. Sinai Cemetery is a relatively old cemetery, with its first interment dating back to 1894, and is located in the community of Fairmount close to the Beechwood subdivision on the Toledo Bend reservoir.  The cemetery does include graves with older markers; these are reinterments necessitated when three local cemeteries located closer to the Sabine River were inundated following construction of the Toledo Bend dam in the mid-1960s.   The cemetery includes a number of interesting markers, as well as this poignant tableau:  

The swing faces this marker:
One can only assume that Gerald's parents spent quite a few hours in the swing while visiting with their deceased son. 

Mt. Sinai also includes this amazing stainless steel marker:

The photos don't do it justice.
 The Fairmount Cemetery is located on Texas Highway 87.

Like the Mt. Sinai Cemetery, it is relatively old and has a Texas Historical Commission book on a stick providing a brief history:

I was actually more intrigued by the sign instructing people not to bury pets in the cemetery (enlarge the first photo to see; it's the smaller sign on the fence) -- is that a common problem?  Most markers in the cemetery were standard, 20th century commercial stones, although there were a few graves marked only with fieldstones:
There was also one vernacular marker that was a little unusual in having a replacement gravestone placed adjacent to it.  Usually the vernacular stones are discarded when a commercial stone replaces them.
 The Ener Cemetery near Yellowpine is a traditional pioneer family cemetery. 

A few of the older stones have weathered to the point of being difficult to read, but most are still quite legible, and are standard commercial markers.
The Yellowpine Cemetery is a relatively new community cemetery.  Like the other three, it is well maintained.
I'm always intrigued when cemeteries located close to each other geographically exhibit different customs or practices, and Yellowpine does have a few characteristics not seen at Mt. Sinai or Fairmount.  Putting an edging around the family plot and keeping it neat with sand or crushed white rock is a popular practice:
This plot with its carefully raked sand is reminiscent of a Zen garden:
I was also quite frankly stunned by this:
I'm hoping this has some meaning for the family that isn't obvious to an outsider, because "Ho! Ho! Ho!" feels like a rather odd sentiment to place on a grave.