Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bellefontaine Cemetery

We learned at the St.Louis History Museum that some of the people who made their mark on the city's past are buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery.   We may have visited the place at least once in the past, but now with St.Louis history so new in our minds it seemed to make sense to revisit the place.  The cemetery began in 1849 and continues to evolve as an active, non profit cemetery.  After proceeding through the main gate we stopped at the park's main office to get a map of the cemetery.  The map showed us the burial location of 58 notables,  "just a few of the famous and fascinating people who lie at peace within our grounds".
Pictured above is the grave of William Clark, his expedition in 1804-06 with Meriwether Lewis "marked the progress of exploration and colonization which thrust our national boundaries to the Pacific".  Quotation was taken from the gravestone- which also noted that he was commissioned as Governor of Missouri Territory in 1813, and two more times after that.  Also carved on his memorial is a quotation from a letter Clark wrote to his old friend Thomas Jefferson in 1825: " it is lamentable that the deplorable situation of the Indians do not receive more of human feelings of the nation".
The grave of Sara Teasdale (first Pulitzer Prize-winning poet) was a bit more difficult to find as it is quite a bit smaller.  Many of the graves certainly are not as simple or plain.  We were quite fascinated with the architecture of mausoleums and larger monuments which display influences from Classical, Romanesque, Gothic, Egyptian and modern architecture.

Pictured above is the Wainwright Tomb, a National Historic Landmark mausoleum.  Speaking of the latter, we peered into the Lemp Family mausoleum and saw the beautiful stained glass window pictured below.  They were a brewer family with a tortured and mysterious family history.  It is possible to visit the Lemp House here in St.Louis and learn more about their story.  I can not begin to do the cemetery justice in one sitting, so I will write more on it in my next posting.

No comments:

Post a Comment