Monday, May 21, 2007

discoveries on the path

pine point park

Chris and I went for a walk yesterday through the Pine Point Park. It was lovely. The weather was that perfect warm/cool combination. We started walking and I began to get irritated by my bra - I should have worn a sports bra! So we decided to back track and not take the long walk but opted for the shorter one instead.

As we walk I stop Chris multiple times to give him a kiss (I'm incredibly cheesy...I know...). Usually we are on a hill when this happens and that just makes him all the more taller than I. So when I spot a flat topped rock I jog over thinking I can stand on it and be closer to the same height for once. Instead - I find this........

It says:
Pine Point Cemetery
Here Lie The Remains Of
75 People Who Were
Residents Of The
Washington County Poor Farm
Located Here In The
Late 1800's And Early 1900's

For anyone that knows me - I'm rather fascinated with cemeteries. I know this may sound odd - and it's not for everyone - but to me they are so interesting! I've always thought this but became even more intrigued with them when I took a course in college called 'Graveyard Culture.' We studied the different types of stone that were used. What all the carvings mean. The history of the layout. You can tell a lot about the time period by looking at all these things. I was hooked! I even thought about becoming a thanatologist - someone who studies death. Now I know this may sound horribly morbid and I guess it is - but it's not like I'm into poking around a corpse. I'm interested in - well - what I mentioned. The layout. The stone. The history.

So - as you can imagine finding this was awesome! I've seen one once before (a poor farm cemetery that is) in Duluth. If you live there and are interested it's on Rice Lake Road. Park along the road on the wooded side across from the college apartment complex. There is a path. Follow it and it will lead to a large clearing. All the graves are marked with round cement stones with numbers. A few of the graves have an actual marker that was put in at a later date by a family member. Check it out.

Anyhow - that is what this was. I was sad to see that there were absolutely no stone markers. There were a few flags - but I'm not sure if these were meant to mark graves. There were only a few and as I found out from this website there are more than forty people buried here! Only one grave (seen below) was marked with a stone - which was unfortunately cracked. While it was incredibly interesting to find this - I was shocked at it's state and location. In a state park on the side of a trail. Vegetation covered the whole area! There were no boundaries. No attempt to respect the dead by putting in even simple number markers. I plan on writing the county to show my disappointment . The one in Duluth - while out of the way and completely hidden to the passerby is at least kept up. The clearing is clearly marked. It it mowed regularly...etc...etc. I'm sure that Washington County could do better - spend some time on that rather than large unsightly developments....

Ideally I would love to have a job that involved locating, researching, and maintaining cemeteries. Maybe someday I can do this.




Molly said...

My father used to mow lawns for a cemetary... and in elementary school in Tennessee, we used to go across the street to etch the gravestones (they were very old)... There's something about it not being kept up too... not a symbol of disrespect but of letting them be at rest. A story here too. I understand your fascination. :)

michelle said...

that is true - about letting them be at rest. i still just feel sad that they probably didn't have all that much in life and have the same now.

i'm jealous that you lived in tn! driving around down there last may was amazing. you'd just see old cemeteries out in the middle of a field all over.....