Sunday, March 23, 2014

I told you I was sick!

Cemeteries can be interesting places. Along with churches, museums, architecture, landscapes, critters, the sky, old signs, and good old Detroit steel, they're one of my favorite things to photograph.

While in Key West, way the heck back in January, I took one of those hop-on, hop-off tour buses. Part of the loop included the Key West Cemetery, whose location is at 701 Passover Lane, and whose motto, if you want to call it that, is Herein Lies Our History. It is a Florida Heritage Site, founded in 1847. Just think what a wild, primitive place is was then, and give a shout out to the person who either named the street after the cemetery was founded, or placed the cemetery on that road.

Under the heading of Crazy Coincidences is this marker for Sophronia Bradley Hall. Between mosquito-killing sessions at Everglades National Park, I found a tablet in memory of Guy Bradley. He was an Audubon warden who was killed in the line of duty in 1903 (according to his plaque) by feather hunters. He was 33. His widow, Sophronia, died 40-something years later and was buried in Key West. I'd never heard of either of them before January, and within the space of a week I'd heard of them both.

Under the heading of Why Him? is this grave marker for Edward Kurhn. He is buried in the military section of the cemetery where there is a statue dedicated to the men who died when the Battleship Maine blew up in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898, just one of the incidents which precipitated the Spanish American War. 

As you can see in the second photo below and as you may have seen in the Andersonville photos I've posted, national cemetery headstones are usually plain affairs; everyone's is more or less the same. But here, Edward Kurhn has been given a nice memorial, dedicated by his shipmates of the USS Buffalo, where he died in 1902. Why him?

This gorgeous creature was enjoying the sun. Does anyone know what kind it is? I'm too lazy to look it up.

I always make a beeline for mausoleums because, as I discovered in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington DC, some of them have stunning stained glass windows at the back. The window here was so-so fair, but look at this Flickr page to see some real artwork.

Here is a tribute to A Gallant Confederate Soldier Awaiting the Bugle Call. He was just 18 at the end of the Civil War. What took him from Mississippi to the farthest reaches of Florida? Was he a prisoner at Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas and just never left the Keys when the war was over?

These are always sad. This is a particularly lovely stone, still in crisp relief.

If this doesn't creep you out I don't know what would.  The flyer distributed by the cemetery said no one knows the significance of the bound woman on Archibald John Sheldon Yates' grave. I don't want to know.

I somehow missed the announcement that chickens/roosters are a Key West mascot of sorts. They run wild everywhere. This rooster had three or four hens in attendance.

This guy must have been some character. Norm Taylor, AKA Captain Outrageous.

This tiny mausoleum, even though it didn't boast any stained glass windows, made my day.

You've heard of the grave that's marked with the famous words, "I told you I was sick"?

Et voilá!

Not to be outdone, though, was this one over the door:

It says, "I'm just resting my eyes."

And this one, mounted on the post at the exit of the cemetery:

I love a sense of humor.


Thought of the day: