Recently, though, two of my favorite blogs have helped me feel less weird about my weird love of weird cemeteries. Kayla of The Dainty Squid (she lives in my 'hood) & Alexandra of Only Living Girl in New York (we went to college together) both blog regularly about cemetery exploration, among other adventures, & ogling their photos made me want to share a few of my own.
Earlier this week, I took a quick midday break & found myself at the Monroe Street Cemetery in Ohio City, which was incorporated into the City of Cleveland in 1836; the cemetery was designated a Historic Landmark in 1973. More than 32,000 people are buried in the 4-acre space. I'm no photographer, like Kayla & Alexandra are, & a grey, rainy, January day in the CLE is not exactly the setting for vibrant photos - but, hey, that's life in Cleveland, right?
The Monroe Street Cemetery is the final resting place of two Ohio City mayors, a few notable local abolitionists, more than 500 members of the military, & plenty of "ordinary persons who, with the sweat of their brows, made Ohio City and Cleveland grow and become a major metropolitan area," writes the Cemetery Foundation.
There are also a number of graves that simply read "baby," marking the resting place of infants that died in childbirth or didn't live more than a few hours past birth. These always make me so sad, even a hundred-plus years later.
The cemetery certainly isn't in disrepair, per se, but it's not in great shape, either. Many of the headstones are too mossy to be readable, & lots of them are crumbling, broken, or fallen. The Cemetery Foundation is working toward restoring the area, though, including a number of old mausoleums that are, for now, shuttered. One of the mausoleums even has an underground space, apparently, that remains a mystery even to those who are working on its restoration. They're hoping to open it soon.
I particularly liked all the headstones that are right up against the cemetery's outer edges, where brush & ivy have all but covered some of them. I also always like to see the designs & fonts that families chose for their late loved ones, & this cemetery has a good variety of them. I saw at least three made to look like tree trunks!
The Monroe Street Cemetery is also home to the graves of a number of Civil War soldiers who fought for the Union. Visitors come from all over the country to find the headstones of their family members - not just Civil War soldiers but also those who served during the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, & both World Wars.
I would've liked to have spent a little bit more time at this cemetery, & in nicer weather. It had rained earlier in the day, so it was almost too muddy to navigate - but luckily, it's just around the corner from me, which means I predict another visit in the future so that I can keep exploring this chunk of Cleveland history.
Do you ever explore old cemeteries, or is it too creepy a habit for your tastes?