October 10, 2011

Graveyard Shift

As we move towards Halloween, I was excited to be able to tour one of Baltimore’s oldest and most historical graveyards, Green Mount Cemetery. It wasn’t exactly the best weather for a graveyard tour – it was clear, sunny and warm! It should have been foggy and dark for better atmosphere… so through the magic of Photoshop, I made it a little more moody!greenmount 006The guide, Wayne Schaumburg, a local historian, was fabulous, and each person on the tour surely learned a lot about the history of both the graveyard and some of Baltimore’s leading citizens.

One of my personal favourites is philanthropist, Enoch Pratt, who gave the funds for Baltimore’s public and free library system, and in whose summer house I work every day. greenmount 012 Because this is a Victorian-era cemetery, there are specific icons and totems that are indicative of the era. One is the obelisk, which was popular because of the relocation of Cleopatra's Needle to London from Egypt in the 1870’s. greenmount 007A version of the obelisk has a tasseled shroud draped over the top. It was a testament to the skill of the monument carvers what they made the draping look so realistic.greenmount 023Of course, there were loads of angels, avenging and otherwise, scattered though the cemetery. greenmount 002 Some were carved and others were cast. greenmount 020There are lots of classical figures represented, owing to the Victorian’s fascination with all things Greco-Roman. This one is dropping rose petals onto the gravestone below.greenmount 022  This could be a Greco-Roman soldier.greenmount 018 One of the more interesting and recent gravestones is for Elijah Bond, the man who patented the Ouija board, which was invented and made in Baltimore. A group of Ouija board fans raised the money for a gravestone after they found that Bond’s grave was unmarked. greenmount 026 The stone resembles the famous Ouija board. It was dedicated in 2008.

As in any graveyard, urns are a ubiquitous motif, greenmount 031 in many shapes and sizes. greenmount 029 I loved looking at the different fences surrounding the plots. Some were iron fences and gates,greenmount 032 and others were carved stone. greenmount 041 There are many unusual grave-markers at Green Mount, including a detailed carving of a piece of brain coral.greenmount 044 No one knows why this is the head-stone, or whose it is.

Here are a few other stones which caught my eye.

greenmount 038 Angel with Trumpetgreenmount 021 Detailed wingsgreenmount 052 Celtic Crossgreenmount 035 A little ivy vine crawling up the back of a stone.greenmount 053 The Chapel on the highest point of the property.greenmount 037 Looking into downtown Baltimore from the high point.

One of the most well-known residents of Green Mount is John Wilkes Booth. However, it’s very difficult to find the gravesite, and his actual grave is not marked. greenmount 054There is a family monument with all of the family’s names, because of the controversy about burying Booth in Baltimore. greenmount 055 The tours of Green Mount are being held on Saturdays in October and are $15 per person. greenmount 014 For information, please e-mail Wayne Schaumberg here.


  1. Can I say that that Ouija board stone is to die for? I recently read an interesting article about a patent law case concerning the Ouija board (invented in Baltimore).

  2. It is my understanding that during another era, visiting a cemetery included picnics. Why ghoulish things are associated with a final resting place is beyond me, unless of course you have read Midnight in the garden of good and evil--- Bonaventure is extra Beautiful in the Spring.

  3. This is something I cannot miss. A real treat and photographer's dream. Thanks Meg! xxxx

  4. Thanks for the tour + loved seeing this, Grand post. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  5. I love these photos! The cemeteries here in Britain are full of enormous stones and I find strolling through them to be quite peaceful. I've often thought of bringing my camera but thought my readers might think I was nuts...but now I'm gonna do it! Thanks again.

  6. OMG! I spend a lot of my time in boneyards, photographing for my own amusement and also for the Find-A-Grave website (I'm a registered volunteer).

    That ouija board headstone ROCKS. I have got to visit this place, thanks for the heads up!

  7. Love that Ouija board stone - very unique!


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