Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Bonaventure. Laurel Grove. Colonial Park. All historic cemeteries here in Savannah. Very old, and quite beautiful. Laurel Grove North has become my favorite, with the Bonaventure a close second.
As a Cemetery Photographer, I have only been involved in this particular interest for the last few years. Spending time in a cemetery is one of the most grounding and calming activities I have ever experienced. I have met others with this same interest via the social sites of MySpace (before it switched to encompass more of the world of bands), and Facebook. There are a lot of us out there. Some may think of cemeteries as being scary and morbid, but there are plenty of us who see much more. Any articulating I might do on behalf of my love of cemeteries may fall on a number of deaf ears who can't relate, but...maybe those individuals would be able to glean some of the beauty and mystery I see from my pictures?
Yesterday, I ventured out to explore a cemetery that up to that point had been unexplored by me. Located in a pretty and residential area not too far from where I live is the Catholic Cemetery. Still in use, the signs at the main entrance refer to it as the HillCrest cemetery. The newer section has nowhere near the artistry and the historical beauty of the section I was there to investigate. That being said...
Heading down Skidaway Road, the off-shooting roads here and there were at odd angles, and many in number. Trying to keep track of street signs was proving futile, so I was glad that I had Googled a map with driving directions. I didn't have a print out of the map, so I was relying on memory recall, and a bit of blind luck. Staying as true as I could to staying on the main drag, the cemetery was suddenly there. It was almost as if it popped into existence. Veering onto Wheaton Road, I turned into the cemetery at the "older" end.
The older section of graveyard was concentrated at one end. I was rather surprised to see that there isn't any sort of protective wall between it and the hi-traffic filled street in front. When I was looking up location information on it, I learned that it had been vandalized in August of 2009. I noticed evidence of this unspeakable act when I first drove onto the site. I immediately noticed a large, beautiful, and very old monument with an angel inside...the angel's head and one of its wings were gone (that's it in the picture). I noticed a few more signs of the damage as I walked around. None of the information I read about the crime said that the perpetrators had been caught. It was unclear as to whether they even had a clue as to who did it. It's such sad commentary on certain members of the human race who would exact such acts of extreme disrespect.
Visually I could kind of tell that the stones and statues closest to the street were among the oldest. The farther I went back in the older section, I could see burials that were slightly newer (if you can count the 1930's as "newer"). As I weaved my way through the graves snapping a picture here and there, I could hear rather cacophonous signs of life from next door. Interestingly enough, there is a school on the other side of the thick growth laden fence. Grade school from the sounds I heard. It was clearly recess.
I got some pictures that I am quite happy with, and I suspect that I will revisit the site at some point. Although old and picturesque, it can't compete for my attentions with the north portion of Laurel Grove. In terms of Gothic mood, Laurel Grove has it in spades.