Rochester Union and Advertiser, June 24, 1893 11-1
Marble and Stone to be Conspicuous by Their
Absence, and the True Lines of Art Will
Followed by Simplicity and the Cultivation of
All That is Beautiful and Sublime in Nature
Thousands of people, on their way to Charlotte on the electric cars, have no doubt, seen the handsome buildings that have been erected by the Riverside Cemetery Association. We present pictures of the station, and the structure of the entrance and other views within the gates.
The officers of the association are as follows: Merton E. Lewis, president; G.W. Sanborn, vice-president; Erastus U. Ely, secretary; Dean Alvord, treasurer and manager; Joseph T. Alling and William C. Walker, directors.
The new cemetery consists of one hundred acres on the Charlotte Boulevard, and extending from the Boulevard to the river. It is four miles from the Four Corners, and can be reached by carriage on the Boulevard or by the electric cars in about twenty-five minutes. The cemetery has a clean, sandy soil which will not retain water to an undesirable extent and has been pronounced by physicians as being admirably adapted for burial purposes. The grounds have a general inclination toward the river, being at its lowest point seventy feet above the water, thus securing perfect drainage during the wettest weather. To these natural advantages a simple but effective system of drainage has been added. The surface on the ground is undulating and abounds in beautiful landscape effects without being so precipitous as to produce washing of roads or sodded banks under heavy rains. Roads have been laid out in graceful curves among the knolls and valleys.
A miniature lake has been stocked with twenty-four varieties of water lilies of every hue. The whole cemetery is being seeded with Kentucky blue grass which is converting the domain into a perfect lawn which will be the characteristic of the cemetery. Two or three thousand trees were planted last fall and these represent every known variety of foliage.
The principle feature of the cemetery management will be perpetual care of every grave and indeed of every foot of the whole domain. There will be no difference in the treatment of the comparatively poor people's lots and those of the wealthy.
The almost entire absence of headstones and monuments will preserve the park-like appearance of the cemetery. Instead of thousands of grotesque and unartistic creations in marble, there will be thousands of varieties of plant, flower and tree. These will be cultivated with consummate skill and the whole region will be a glorious exemplification of the wondrous works of the Almighty power and love, and be a continual appeal to the higher nature and nobler aspirations of the living.
In speaking to a gentleman, who has taken an active part in establishing the new cemetery, he said in substance: " In this age of culture and refinement, people are demanding many changes in habits and customs. Many grotesque customs are permitted simply on account of their antiquity and because they have worked their ways into the lives of men and women through many centuries of habit. The conventional cemetery must change its old-time fashion and in line with reason, good taste and that simplicity of form which comports the true art.
"The conventional cemetery has evolved into nothing more inspiring than a stone mason's and marble cutters show ground, and the lines of true art have been cruelly ignored. The sentiment back of this vulgar display, though in the main actuated by deep, feeling and real affection for the dead, is built upon false estimate of duty and a desire for ostentation.
" Pride and vanity has done much to mar and disfigure every cemetery in the world, and nothing is more irksome and distasteful to the cultivated mind than the display of unmeaning, ill formed, unpoetic and conventional creations of the marble cutter's hands. The coming cemetery is going to be entirely different in many respects to the old. Mother Nature, with its divine art, its glorious diversity, inexhaustible resources and its immortal of form and color, its lessons will, under the guiding hands of skillful artists usurp the place now occupied by the vulgar hand of ostentation.
"The lesson of future cemetery adornment and conduct is learned in that sublime utterance of the Master, who in speaking of the common lilies, exclaimed: 'And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these!' Men and women now realize that the highest and most ornate shaft of marble that was ever fashioned by man does not convey so lofty a sentiment of love and devotion, nor teach so sweet a lesson of faith and hope as a common flower fashioned by the hand of God."
There are many people who will prefer to bury the remains of their loved ones in this new cemetery which will be conducted upon this plan of simplicity.
Of course due arrangements will be made for the marking and recoding of each grave, and if any marble devices are allowed they will be confined to not more than one for each lot. But under no circumstances will vulgar and ostentatious display be permitted. In fact the cemetery will be carried on under the same system that prevails at Spring Grove cemetery, Cincinnati, the new pat of Forest Hill, Boston, and Swan Point, Providence, R.I., each of which represent the new ideas of culture in regards to cemeteries.
J.H. Shepard, the well-known specialist in landscape gardening, is superintendant of the new cemetery. He has had years of experience in that line of work, he having been superintendent of Oak Woods, Chicago.
Many prominent citizens have already bought lots in Riverside Cemetery and it is expected that within a very few years it will be one of the most beautiful burial grounds in the state.
The article includes several pictures but I am only including one, the Riverside Cemetery Station which no longer exists.