Saturday, October 24, 2009

More Halloween Haunts and Tombstone Tours

More Halloween Haunts and Tombstone Tours. I love to visit cemeteries on my travels. The dead tell us so much about the living, and so much about the history of the place where they found their eternal rest. Many cemeteries have beautiful gardens, architecture, monuments and most of all serenity. Every city has some kind of old, historic and beautiful cemetery, so be sure and check into it before you go or while you're there.

My favorite local cemetery is Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, CA which also has the fabulous Arts & Crafts Julia Morgan Chapel of the Chimes. The grounds of Mountain View Cemetery are beautiful, and its famous for its incredible display of tulips throughout the cemetery in March (not Halloween). The Cemetery was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who designed New York's Central Park, Capitol Grounds in Washington DC, Stanford University and Yosemite Park. It's also the resting place of famous movers and shakers of the Western Landscape including Charles Crocker, Julia Morgan, Henry J. Kaiser, Frank Norris, Bernard Maybeck and Thomas Hill.

New Orleans: St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Founded in 1789, just outside the French Quarter, this is possibly the best cemetery in the U.S. All of the cemeteries together make-up an incredible City of the Dead since the above ground tombs look like houses. The Greek Revival tomb of Marie Laveau, the famous voodoo queen, is in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Bring beads, flowers, candles, and trinkets to leave there. Be sure and take a tour. It's not safe wandering on your own. Other New Orleans cemeteries: Lake Lawn Cemetery (Garden District) and Lafayette Cemetery. For more on New Orleans Cemeteries, go HERE.

New York: Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery dates back to 1838. 560,000 permanent residents include Boss Tweed, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Leonard Bernstein. Great views, landscaping, art, architecture and history. There's also a colony of green monk parakeets. I'm not the only person who visits cemeteries: by 1860 Green-Wood was attracting 500,000 visitors a year, rivaling Niagara Falls as the country's greatest tourist attraction.

Cleveland: Lake View Cemetery has the James A. Garfield Monument honoring the U.S. President who was assassinated in 1881. There's a 180 foot tower, marble statue and mosaics of his life and death, with a view of the Cleveland skyline and Lake Erie from the upper balcony of the monument. Famous Memorials: 65 ft. obelisk marking John D. Rockefeller's grave, and a monument to Eliot Ness. The interior of the must-see Wade Chapel was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his studio. Opened in 1869, it was modeled after garden cemeteries of England and France.

Los Angeles: So many stars to 'see.' Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. Marilyn Monroe, Burt Lancaster, Natlaie Wood, Jack Lemmon, Dean Martin, Frank Zappa, Truman Capote. Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills: Lucille Ball, Bette Davis Liberace, Stan Laurel, Gene Autry. Forest Lawn Glendale: Michael Jackson. Check out: Where the Stars are Buried. Hollywood Forever: Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks.

Paris. Pere Lachaise I've written about Pere Lachaise before, mainly because it's one of my favorite places to visit in Paris. With over 118 acres and close to several metro stops, I love to visit the graves of Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein, and Jim Morrison. This cemetery was the model for all rural cemeteries built in the U.S. from 1831 on.

Cambridge, MA. Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Founded in 1831, it was the first large-scaled designed landscape open to the public. MA. Buckminster Fuller, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, B.F. Skinner. Winslow Homer, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Bernard Malamud.

Boston: The Old Granary Burying Ground. Est. in 1660. Graves of Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams,

Venice. San Michele. Located on an island, nicknamed, "isle of the dead." There are no living people there which makes it a quiet retreat when visiting Venice. Lovely landscaping with tall cypress trees with lots of headstones in a bit of a jumble. Ezra Pound, Igor Stravinsky.

Prague: Old Jewish Cemetery. Another cemetery that I've been to and written about before. From the 15th century. All the gravestones slant in different directions.

Buenos Aires: La Recoleta Cemetery. Incredible crypts. Lots of feral cats. Presidents, sports figures, authors. And, of course, its most famous denizen: Eva Peron. Elegant and quiet place.

One can't list Famous Cemeteries for Halloween without mentioning the Memorial Grave of Edgar Allan Poe, the Father of the Mystery Story, in Baltimore, MD. I finally got there last year when Bouchercon (the World Mystery Convention) was held in Baltimore.

Surf the web for some great walking tours of these and other cemeteries and special events on Halloween and Day of the Dead.

Did I mention I was mugged in Havana's Columbus Cemetery on the Day of the Dead? Be careful out there. The residents may be harmless, but the living are lethal.

1 comment:

Veronica Jordan said...

But you missed the most famous Mountain View inhabitant (from a mystery standpoint!). The Black Dahlia is buried there. When she died, her sister was married to a UC Berkeley prof. I don't know which professor, the family always got people to leave their names out of the books about her. Anyway, the sister and her husband were the ones who claimed her body and had her buried in Oakland, even though she never lived there. They don't include her grave on the tour out of "deference to the family". Since the bulk of her family lived on the east coast, can't see that it matters, but anyway, if you ask the office where "Elizabeth Short" is buried, they'll tell you.