Graveyard

Graveyard
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lovely Lilies Lead the Way


Riegelsville Cemetery, Riegelsville, PA

Lilies are my favorite flower.  I have about twenty different kinds in my flower beds, mostly the Oriental varieties.  I can only enjoy them outside, though, as their strong scent causes my husband's throat to close up.  Such a whiner.  :)  But lilies are probably best enjoyed "au natural," on their tall stems of simple slender green leaves, with their elegant elongated almond-shaped petals unfurled like the rays of the sun, and their pistils stretching up to the sky.

Lilies were a common symbol adorning 19th century grave stones, and continued to be popular into the early 20th century.  They represented purity and innocence, and according to Douglas Keister in Stories in Stone, the lily was a metaphor for the deceased leaving behind earthly things and ascending into heaven...the plain green leaves on the stem terminating in a glorious bloom at the top.  Keister also mentions the practicality of using lilies at 19th-century funerals, as their strong scent covered up the nasty odors of decaying bodies.

The Madonna Lily or Easter Lily was a particular favorite of stone masons who expertly wielded the pneumatic carving tools developed at the end of the 19th century; below, you'll see the incredible carvings they made bloom in hard, cold granite.  Many times, though, the lily's pistils (where the pollen is stored) were not included in the carving, as their phallic significance did not jive well with the concept of purity and innocence.  Ah, those Victorian prudes!

I really appreciate the intricate and detailed carvings of the later portrayals of lilies on grave stones.  But I still have a preference for the marble and sandstone carvings of the earlier years, before the steam-powered tools, when a mason with a hammer and chisel powered by his own steam carving simple two-dimensional lilies.  When I gently trace their petals with my fingers, I can almost smell that intoxicating fragrance.

Church Hill Cemetery, Martin's Creek, PA

Fairmount Cemetery, Thompson, PA

Hellertown Union Cemetery, Hellertown, PA

Holy Ghost Greek Catholic Cemetery, Jessup, PA

Nockamixon Union Cemetery, Nockamixon, PA

Odd Fellows' Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

St. John's Union Cemetery, Nazareth, PA

St. Paul's Lutheran Blue Church, Coopersburg, PA

St. Thomas Whitemarsh Cemetery, Fort Washington, PA

Thompson Cemetery, Thompson, PA

Upside-down Lilies, Mountainview Cemetery, Upper Exeter, PA

Falls Cemetery, Falls, PA

Hornbaker Cemetery, Madisonville, PA

St. Andrew's UCC Cemetery, Perkasie, PA

Arlington Cemetery, Upper Darby, PA

Belfast Union Cemetery, Belfast, PA


Bolkcom Cemetery, Rileyville, PA


Carversville Cemetery, Carversville, PA

Clinton Center Baptist Cemetery, Clinton, PA

Hand Holding Wilting Lily, Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

Davisville Church, Davisville, PA

Doylestown Cemetery, Doylestown, PA

Dunmore Cemetery, Dunmore, PA

Dunmore Cemetery, Dunmore, PA

Durham Cemetery, Durham, PA

Durham Cemetery, Durham, PA

East Bangor Cemetery, East Bangor, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

Green Grove Cemetery, Pleasant Mount, PA

Greenwood Cemetery, Falls, PA

Greenwood Cemetery, Nazareth, PA

Hays Cemetery, Easton, PA

Hellertown Union Cemetery, Hellertown, PA


Hickory Grove Cemetery, Waverly, PA

Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Jervis, NY

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Fallen Lily at Base, Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Mountainview Cemetery, Upper Exeter, PA

Mt. Zion Cemetery, Snydersville, PA

Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA
Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Odd Fellows' Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, PA

Pleasantville UCC Cemetery, Pleasantville, PA

Prospect Hill Cemetery, Peckville, PA

Raubsville Cemetery, Raubsville, PA

Richboro Union Cemetery, Richboro, PA

Richlandtown Cemetery, Richlandtown, PA

Richmond United Methodist Cemetery, Bangor, PA

Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Riverside Cemetery, Norristown, PA

South Canaan Cemetery, South Canaan, PA

Springtown Cemetery, Springtown, PA

St. Andrew's Episcopal Cemetery, Yardley, PA

St. Cecelia's Cemetery, Hilltop, PA

St. Cyril Greek Catholic Cemetery, Blakely, PA

St. John's Union Cemetery, Nazareth, PA

St. Paul's Cemetery, Stone Church, PA

St. Paul's Lutheran Blue Church Cemetery, Coopersburg, PA

St. Paul's Lutheran Blue Church Cemetery, Coopersburg, PA

St. Paul's Lutheran Blue Church Cemetery, Coopersburg, PA

St. Peter's Episcopal Cemetery, Lewes, DE

St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery, North Wales, PA

St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery, North Wales, PA

Stark Cemetery, Starkville, PA

Stroudsburg Cemetery, Stroudsburg, PA

Trumbauersville Cemetery, Trumbauersville, PA

Trumbauersville Cemetery, Trumbauersville, PA


Tunkhannock Cemetery, Tunkhannock, PA

Tunkhannock Cemetery, Tunkhannock, PA

Laurel Cemetery, White Haven, PA

Neshaminy Presbyterian Cemetery, Warrington, PA

Wentz's UCC Cemetery, Worcester, PA

West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA
Norris City Cemetery, Norristown, PA

Norris City Cemetery, Norristown, PA

Norris City Cemetery, Norristown, PA

Norris City Cemetery, Norristown, PA

Norris City Cemetery, Norristown, PA

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