Graveyard

Graveyard
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Arching Toward Heaven

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA



Arches in cemetery iconography symbolize the triumphant and victorious passage from earth to heaven.    In the Bible, the arch itself is called Heaven.  The Book of Genesis states, “And God made the arch for a division between the waters which were under the arch and those which were over it, and it was so.  And God gave the arch the name of Heaven….And God said, Let the waters be full of living things, and let birds be in flight over the earth under the arch of heaven.”  

Some of my pictures show gravestones carved in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s by the Pennsylvanian Germans, who used the entire stone as the archway, including a keystone at the top.   As the 19th century progressed, carvings of arches became more classically inspired, usually framing an urn.  And in the late 1800’s, the arch was a favored motif in high-style carvings, being especially popular for husband and wife gravestones, as the arch was also symbolic of their unbroken bond.  

Beth Israel Cemetery, Honesdale, PA  This arch has unfortunately broken (arch on ground in front and urn to the left) but it united a husband and wife.

Bethel Methodist Cemetery, Bedford Valley, PA   Strangest top I've seen.

Bethel Methodist Cemetery, Bedford Valley, PA

Beulah Cemetery, New Britain, PA   This arch and other stones in here were actually removed from a cemetery in Montgomeryville that was destroyed for "progress."  The bodies were also reinterred here.

Centreville Cemetery, Stone Church, PA

Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

Edgewood Cemetery, Pottstown, PA   This arch unites two sisters who never married.  Note the tree branch in the back, and then look at the next picture.

Edgewood Cemetery, Pottstown, PA   This tree and one other fell recently, and yet did only minimal damage to headstones.

St. John's Catholic Cemetery, Susquehanna Depot, PA

St. John's Catholic Cemetery, Susquehanna Depot, PA  (back of above stone)

Doylestown Cemetery, Doylestown, PA

Durham Cemetery, Durham, PA
 
Durham Cemetery, Durham, PA

East Bangor Cemetery, East Bangor, PA

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA    Urn has broken off the top.

Forest Grove Presbyterian Cemetery, Forest Grove, PA

Holy Ghost Greek Catholic Cemetery, Jessup, PA

Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Jervis, NY

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA   I would have liked to see this statue before air pollution and time got to it.

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA   Ditto.

Madisonville Union Cemetery, Madisonville, PA    This intrigues me.  No information on it, except he was a member of the Patriotic Sons of America.  Did the top break off?  Why is there an arch or rectangular hole carved into the bottom of it? 

Neshaminy Presbyterian Cemetery, Warrington, PA

Neshaminy Presbyterian Cemetery, Warrington, PA    This is a headstone and it's been repaired.  Why was the arch carved into the bottom like this? 

Neshaminy Presbyterian Cemetery, Warrington, PA    This is missing an urn from the middle.

Nockamixon Union Cemetery, Ferndale, PA    There must be iron pins holding this together, and the rusting of those pins have turned the marble a "lovely" orange.

Richboro Union Cemetery, Richboro, PA   Missing its urn on top.

St. Cyril Greek Catholic Cemetery, Blakely, PA

St. John's Catholic Cemetery, Susquehanna Depot, PA

St. John's Cemetery, Bangor, PA

Sunnyside Cemetery, Tunkhannock, PA   This is a 20th century tombstone, but I liked the arch.  Or is it a bridge?

Hilltown Baptist Cemetery, Hilltown, PA   This is really tall, over 4 feet.  I think this might be King of Prussia marble, but I am not sure.  This is a very old cemetery, with many Revolutionary War vets.  Who carved this and for whom? 

West Swamp Mennonite Cemetery, Quakertown, PA   A more classical carving, inspired by the Greek Revival in architecture.

West Swamp Mennonite Cemetery, Quakertown, PA

New Goshenhoppen Union Cemetery, East Greenville, PA   This is hand-carved sandstone and the inscription is in German calligraphy, late 1700's.  You can see the columns on the side, supporting the arch.

New Goshenhoppen Union Cemetery, East Greenville, PA   Here is a large keystone at the top of the arch.

New Goshenhoppen Union Cemetery, East Greenville, PA   Lovely.

New Hanover Lutheran Cemetery, Gilbertsville, PA   An arch and columns with a thin keystone at the top.

New Hanover Lutheran Cemetery, Gilbertsville, PA     Under the arch, is that the clouds in the sky?  Look at the bottom:  why is that piece carved out and what is the hole to the right for??

New Hanover Lutheran Cemetery, Gilbertsville, PA

New Hanover Lutheran Cemetery, Gilbertsville, PA

New Hanover Lutheran Cemetery, Gilbertsville, PA   A series of arches and keystones.  Is this a specific symbolism or just a carver demonstrating his skill?  Will I ever get an answer to all of my questions?  Is this bringing back memories to my parents of a little girl asking Why? over and over and over again??  :)

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