Saturday, May 19, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

I went on a cemetery tour today.  I took my friend Jody, for her birthday.  She digs old cemeteries, and I can understand why.  A lot of you will know this cemetery.  It used to be called Layman's Cemetery, but now goes by the name of Minneapolis Pioneers & Soldiers Memorial Cemetery.   If that doesn't ring any bells, it's the cemetery on the corner of Cedar & Lake.  Yes, that's the one.  Remember taking the 19 bus downtown, riding down Cedar Avenue past that old, old cemetery?  Never saw a funeral happening there, never saw anyone visiting.  
This is the caretakers cottage.  It's the oldest standing block building in Mpls.  Yes, it's even older than the buildings at Ft. Snelling, because those have been rebuilt - this is original.  It's beautiful in it's simplicity.  The back area is where they stored the bodies from November until spring, when the ground thawed enough to dig again.  That's just the way it was here in Minnesota and other cold weather states.

The "oldness" of this cemetery boggles the mind.  To see the marker of someone born in 1793, and who served in the War of 1812, is pretty cool.   This man was an abolitionist.  This cemetery is pretty amazing as it was open to all, regardless of race or religion, though of course this being Minnesota, the majority of the people here appear to be Scandinavian.  Imagine that!

People weren't segregated here, except for the very poor who were in the "Potter's Field" area, which has very few markers.  There are also a couple of mass graves back here where the University of Minnesota Medical School had bodies buried that had been used for medical research back in the 19-teen's.

About half of the people buried here were children. 

These two markers were swallowed up by a tree.

 Civil War Vets.

Jody noticed this old mailbox inside the gate and asked about it.  Apparently it's the "dead letter box."   Hey, it's not my joke - that's what the tour director said.

After the tour, we went to lunch at the Longfellow Grille.  Great food and great conversation.  We caught up, talked about family and friends and what's been happening in our lives.  We also debated some of the great food issues of our generation - we agree on Jif over Skippy, Heinz instead of Hunts, and that Ambassador hotdogs are the best.  We do differ on plain vs. ripple chips, and Jody likes Lays but I'm an Old Dutch kind of girl.  But, we were able to put these differences aside, and we remain friends. 


  1. Hey Lisa, does that tombstone make my butt look big?

  2. wow, very cool Liz. i never even THOUGHT of going in there. been to lakewood at night several times and watched fireworks one year from inside.keep up the good work here.