Ms. Kitty from Sophistiqué Noir Gothic Fashion blog announced this month’s theme as Black and White. I had all these amazing plans in my head about posting black and white flowers and/or posting about how to dye flowers black. I even went to the flower market in search of some white roses only to discover again and again that white is never *white* in nature, nor is black ever really *black*... whatever that means. I found these stunning roses which are pretty close to white with red tips but up again my black and white vases (one a Kah tequila bottle and one a bat pitcher from HomeGoods), they appear more cream.
This morning I went to Hollywood Cemetery (a little bit for business since I’m giving my first *official* tour to paying customers on Friday, and for a morning walk) and I continually kept noticing the black and white of the cemetery. The original area of the cemetery has a vast collection of ornate, 19th-century funerary monuments throughout with the earliest being carved in white marble in a variety of Classical and Picturesque styles. And of course true to the time there are still some elaborate black iron fences that still remain in the cemetery.
I'll begin with two stones which appear a bit more blue than white. These are White Bronz.
These are most likely the only White Bronz stones in Hollywood. Between 1874 and 1912 the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, CT made headstones that were meant to “weather”. Made of sand cast zinc, they called them White Bronze for marketing purposes to make it more appealing to customers. The zinc carbonate gave the headstones a bluish gray color. Each stone was created individually for the person who ordered it. These monuments were ordered from a sales agent with a catalog, these salesman didn’t make much money because the headstones where so inexpensive. The company mass produced them using molds.
Hollywood has some gorgeous white marble. Marble stones weather. Some mistake the patina of age for “dirt” and want marble stones to be as white as when they were originally purchased. Aggressive cleaning can cause irreparable damage; it destroys the stone’s patina, not to mention its history. Every cleaning regardless of how gentle has the potential to cause damage to the stone. For example, this statue is quite stunning while showing its age. Entitled “Grief”, this is a statue designed by Edward V. Valentine for the William Worthington. Worthington was only 29 years old when he died. The statue was commissioned by his stepfather to commemorate his death and Worthington's mother’s deep sadness. He was the son of Alice Brown Worthington Haxall and the step son of Wm. Henry Haxall who are both buried next to him. His stepfather was part of the Haxall Flour Mills in Richmond. The Haxall family was part of the development of Hollywood Cemetery.
Hollywood is comprised primarily of family lots. Prior to 1861, the cemetery encouraged families to use ornate cast iron fencing, most of which came from a number of Richmond, Baltimore, and Philadelphia foundries. During the American Civil War, many churches gave their iron church bells to the Confederacy to support war efforts. The only place that was considered sacred enough not to remove such iron was the cemetery. After the war, the Hollywood Cemetery Company discouraged and in some cases restricted the use of cast iron, and much of the original cast iron was removed to ease maintenance. The fences that are left are stunning examples of the workmanship of its time.
This family plot is significant for the fence which includes wrought iron (hammered—which makes it more expensive) and cast iron (poured into a mold). There is a great deal of symbolism with the grapes (Blood of Christ; Holy Communion), Oak (strength) and Laurel leaves (Honor & distinction). The upside down torches represent the end of life but the continued flame shows that while the life is snuffed, the spirit continues. The wreath represents victory in death. All of which rest upon the head of Jesus.
There are approximately 80,000 buried in Hollywood Cemetery. There are 18,000 Confederate soldiers buried here with 3,000 from Gettysburg. The Ladies’ Hollywood Memorial Association initiated a fund-raising project in 1888 to acquire small granite posts to replace the wooden markers in the Soldier’s Section. This section is laid out with letters and numbers denoting the location of those buried. While it may be easy to mistake these markers for traditional military markers, they are pointed on top and include a specific symbol that shows that the grave belongs to a Confederate soldier. A cross with a wreath inside is the Southern Cross of Honor; this could only be bestowed through the United Daughters of the Confederacy.