"We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~Oscar Wilde
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself." ~Amelia Earhart

November 10, 2008

The Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery

Some people are fabulous at writing about their daily lives. Me? Not so much. If I tried, it would turn out something like, "O Hai! I completed 12 quests in WoW today. 'N I suck at Dance Dance Revolution. Kthxbai." It's easiest for me to write about the structures and locations that surround me. So, I headed out today to take pictures of a place more interesting than me.

The Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery looks out-of-place. Enclosed by a rusted, beat-up, wrought iron fence, it occupies approximately 4 city blocks. Inside the fence, a small stone caretaker's cottage, trees, and scattered and, often, off-kilter tombstones line the green grass and mark the graves of some of Minneapolis's earliest residents.

If it were positioned out in the country, it'd just be a slightly spooky place. But it's located in the middle of one of the most developed parts of the city. It's surroundings include a modern strip mall and a state-of-the-art YWCA built just a few years ago. Nearby, a large industrial brownstone with a tall smokestack towers over the area. I think it's a factory. I can't say for sure. Lake Street, on the cemetery's southern border, is constantly clogged with traffic even late into the night. Cedar Avenue, on its western border, is almost as active. When it was first established in the late 1800's, it probably wasn't located in such a populated area. But, as the city grew, it expanded outward and surrounded the cemetery.

One of the few local ghost stories that I've heard of actually comes from that cemetery. A friend of mine in high school lived only a few blocks away and would often walk past it. One day, she and a friend of hers were walking past when she noticed something near the caretaker's cottage. When she turned her head to look closer, it was gone. She stopped and asked her friend, "Did you see that?" "Yes," he replied. After a short conversation, they realized they had both seen a group of nuns near the cottage standing in a circle as though they were playing "Ring Around the Rosey"

Before today, I knew very little about the cemetery's history. I only did an internet search about it because I was curious about the place. The organization that supports the preservation of the historical site has a website at http://www.friendsofthecemetery.org/ and it is awesome. My favorite section is the biographical sketches (under the history tab) of some of the people who were buried there. There's some fascinating people in there. From John Cheatham, one of the city's first African-American firefighters, to Della Stokes, a "woman of the underworld".

Taken from the southeast corner of the cemetery.

I think this is a caretaker's cottage.

The cemetery is closed to visitors from October to April so I couldn't go inside.

This was taken a few blocks away at the Lake Street light rail station. You can see how urbanized this area of town is.


Mushy said...

So when are you going over there at night and get some great shots!

You do take great photos.

Thanks for the visit...I vote for you often on Blog Explosion.

Erin said...

"After a short conversation, they realized they had both seen a group of nuns near the cottage standing in a circle as though they were playing "Ring Around the Rosey""

I would PISS MYSELF. I love cemeteries, but have never seen anything. One time I swear I heard whispering when I was inside this old abandoned meeting house in the middle of a Quaker cemetery, but aside from that nothing. I think I'm spiritually closed off or something!

Ferd said...

The word "Soldiers" qualifies this as a bona fide Veterans' Day post, and definitely the most interesting one I read today!

So you suck at DDR?

Berryvox said...

Mushy - Actually, that part of town's a bit too dodgy to be visiting at night!

Erin - Oh, I know! When she told me that, I immediately thought, 'Why does the good stuff never happen to me?!?' That cemetery IS an awesome place to visit if you like that sort of things.

Ferd - *gasp* If I had remembered that holiday, I would've pointed out all the Civil War and War of 1812 veterans buried there!

Oh, yeah. I stink. It grades you on a scale of A-B-C-D-E. I cannot get above D. Doesn't surprise me, though. I was never very good at any kind of arcade game. I usually stick to RPGs, simulation, and strategy games.

Jerry said...

A lot of people will be turning over in those graves I suspect if you guys send Al "the joke" Franken to the senate.

Berryvox said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Take it to a political site or newspaper.