To follow up on my article on the Rock of Ages quarry last week, I introduce Hope Cemetery in Barre. Many of the stone carvers who worked for Rock of Ages wanted to commemorate their own lives. Their creations in Hope Cemetery are certainly something to see.
Northern Vermont locals have heard of this cemetery, but not many have visited. What a shame, for the cemetery has been featured in the Roadside America series of books and is unlike any other you have seen. Hope Cemetery opened in 1895 and is unique because all the monuments are made of Barre Gray granite. Most of the monuments are standard designs, but as you wander the grounds, you’ll spot plenty of unusual subjects.
Here is a checklist of monuments to look for; they are in no particular order so that you may wander around the cemetery looking for them. Driving through and finding all the monuments listed will take about 30 minutes. Or you can walk the cemetery, in which case you should plan about two hours. • Race car #61 celebrating the life of local driver Joey Laquerre, Jr. who died in a 1991 snowmobile accident. • Soccer ball commemorating at 13 year old soccer enthusiast • Man on a motorcycle • Baseball player • Biplane which is the gravestone of a pilot • Replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta • Artwork representing drilling a well • William and Gwendolyn Halvosa’s monument representing them sitting up in bed. • Soldier smoking a cigarette, with his wife or girlfriend floating in a curl of his smoke • A bay window • A carved family portrait based on a group snapshot • The Bored or Sitting angel • “The Dying Man”, held by his wife. This is the monument of Louis Brusa, who died from the stone carver’s ailment, silicosis • Life sized easy chair
A photo posted by Niki Brouillette (@niknonk) on
You can purchase the Rock of Ages “Oncell” mobile phone tour. The tour begins in the factory with a conversation with the stone crafters, and moves on to the Cemetery. The tour is available for purchase any time and operates each year from May-October. The mobile phone tour works best with a map and guide of the cemetery which you can get from the Barre Granite Association.
And , when you drive through downtown Barre, keep an eye out for the granite zipper.