Cave Hill Cemetery

Cemetery Motifs 201

Curated by
James Carroll

1.2 miles
53 Points of Interest

Copyright 2019


Please remember that Cave Hill is a cemetery and not a public park. Pets are not allowed in the cemetery. Bicycles, joggers, motorcycles, motor homes, and buses are not allowed. No picnicking allowed. Do not park on the grass.
This is really important. While Cave Hill is historic, it is also an active cemetery and we need to respect that others are visiting their loved ones.

Table of Contents


Walk into the cemetery along the sidewalk on the right-hand side of the main road. Continue walking until the sidewalk ends at a paved road. You will see a large tree in a grassy triangle in front of you.

Section One

38.244572, -85.723566
Check the Map
The road to your left is the main road and has a solid white stripe in the center. You will be walking along the right hand side of the road, but be mindful of cars.

Walk to the left of the large tree and stop at the intersection.

There are fifteen Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
Section Two

On the right hand side, look for the dark gray Merrill memorial. You will find it just past the second obelisk.

Merrill memorial

This is a prime example of the color contrast between polished and unpolished stone. Notice that the details are not carved deeply–the polished surface was shaved away to reveal the raw stone.

This contrast gives it a feeling of graphic design, but that is not the only thing. None of the details are sculpted–even the leaves are just flat shapes–so the surface resembles a cut linoleum block.

Looking down the road, you can see a Sphinx just past a Magnolia tree. You cannot miss it.

Peaslee monument

Egyptian motifs in cemeteries are common–you have just passed two obelisks. Sphinxes, however, are rare; I have only seen them in three other cemeteries.

Just behind the Peaslee sphinx you will see some headstones.

Metal wreaths

Metal, with this heavy patina, makes for a nice contrast to the light colored stone. The fine details of the foliage add interest to the simple shapes of the stones.

Continue along the road. Our next stop–a tree stump on a cairn–is on the right just past the Clerget memorial.

Sale tree

Cairn and Tree Stump memorials are my favorite styles because they allow for a large amount of details. And, when you compare them to the more common headstone styles they seem even more like sculptures.

Look to your left. Walk to the female figure on a reddish base.

Carter memorial

First, there is that nice pinkish-red stone, which has a very nice visual texture. The figure above is scattering petals. To the right you can see another figure in the same pose; notice that both figures are missing their scattering arm.

I have been thinking that dressing figures in robes gives a mass of stone at the base of the figure. This figure has its feet exposed and notice that there is extra mass between the feet.

On the right, just past the group of five trees, you will find the Almstedt obelisk.

Almstedt obelisk

This obelisk is more detailed than the two you passed earlier. The base is more architectural, has the flowers at the corners, and the Garland above the inscription.

Also, notice the delicate color patterns in the stone.

Just behind you can see the Carter monument.

Carter monument

Again, the focus is the foliage. The twig-like script used for the family name is unusual and adds another touch of nature.

The next stop is the large cross next to the Almstedt obelisk.

Camp cross

The stone has been carved to look like it has not been carved at all–that the cross could have been pulled from the quarry as is.

It seems like it might take more skill to create a natural-looking rough surface than a smooth surface. In any case, all this visual texture make this monument stand out.

Continue along the road. Just behind the P section marker you will see a large rustic cross that we saw in Stroll 1. We are interested in the smaller cross beside it.

Hauser memorial

This is another Cairn memorial. Take some time to look at all the details, and how the leaves look delicate but actually have some mass to them.

Just behind you can see another monument.

Hauser memorial 2

We usually ignore dates but look at the name and dates on the two Hauser memorials.

They are both for the same person. Laura Hauser has two memorials.

Look across the road and down a little bit. You will see five burial vaults set into the hill.

Five vaults

While they have fronts that resemble mausoleums, these vaults are not freestanding buildings, or buildings at all. Also, notice how they are all sealed. Another important detail is that they each have lawn above them instead of a roof.

They seem to get more ornate as you move from left to right.

Directly across the road from the Rucker vault, you will see a headstone embedded in the ground.

Fallen memorial

This stone was probably upright when it was new. You can still see the cello-shaped scrolls on the sides, and the angel figure at the top.

Continue walking down the road. You will see a small, slightly slanting tree with a grassy path beside it. Immediately past the path you will see the Miller memorial.

Miller memorial

The focus is the details above the inscription. There is a sword, a draped flag, and a ribbon that twines all over the place.

Continue walking down the road. You will see a Magnolia tree with a grassy path just past it. Turn right onto the path and continue along the left side of the path. You will see a memorial with a female figure standing in front of an arched stone wall.

Ogle memorial

Notice how the vertical stack of stones on the left projects out at the bottom to make a space for the fern, but are missing on the right side.

You can also see a Lily, some Ivy, a Wreath, and something with wings at the top of the arch.

But walk around to the other side. Notice how nothing is symmetrical or level, including the inscription. This makes it feel more sculptural and, in the right light, the shadows deepen the crevases between the stones.

You will see a small obelisk to your left. Just past that is the Alford memorial.

Alford memorial

Notice something?

Or is it?

Many of the details are exactly the same, but notice the ferns in the lower left and the flower stems above them–they are not the same.

Could they have been made at the same shop? By the same carver? Or, perhaps, from a stock pattern?

Section Two

38.244052, -85.722208
Check the Map
Return to the grassy path and walk back to the road. Turn right and at the intersection, you will see two roads on the left–take the one on the left that is going uphill.
There are five Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
Section Three

Stay on the left hand side of the road and stop at the first mausoleum.

Bullett mausoleum

Being set into a hill, this looks similar to the vaults we saw earlier; why is this a mausoleum? Well, it is an entire building, with a roof, a door, and side walls.

The roof has strong and solid vertical lines, the blocks making up the walls are not in a brick-like pattern, and the entrance evokes a feeling of a cathedral.

Continue along the road to the next mausoleum.

Dowell mausoleum

This mausoleum is similar in shape to the previous one, but there are differences. The fake windows and columns are more detailed, there are buttresses on either side, there are three small steeples at the roof points, and the roof details are rounded and more subtle.

Cross to the right hand side of the road. You are looking for another tree stump memorial that is on the near side of a large Magnolia tree.

Davies tree

Of course this is another tree stump, and you know why: Details. How the trunk is broken, the bark texture, the foliage, and the different accessories all add to something that is more sculpture than memorial.

And do not forget to look at the back side.

Return to the road and turn right. Pass the road on your left, and just before the intersection on the right you will see a Tree Stump monument on the right.

Sally monument

Lots of details we have seen before but this time they are much larger and finely detailed. How many do you recognize?
Look on the right side of the base for a very faint inscription.

Directly across the road you will see a forked grassy path. Take the right side of the fork. Walk past the path on your left and turn left at the merging fork. The Pyles monument is on your right.

Pyles monument

As you walk up the hill you will notice a medallion above the name. Above that, on the obelisk, there is a male face in profile. At the very top is an angel.

But, that is not why we came up here. Look on either side of the mediallion side to see carved illustrations.

Section Three

38.246383, -85.719307
Check the Map
Return to the road and continue to the intersection. Turn right and cross to the left side of the road.
There are ten Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
Section Four

Stop at the first vault on your left.

Hahn vault

This is our first vault–a mausoleum without a door. It has some interesting details and some maze-quality hedges out front.

Continue to the next vault. You will see Kaye and Walker markers up front.

Kaye Walker space

But where is the mausoleum?

Perhaps one was planned but never built. Perhaps something happened to it. If the urn at the top of the hill belongs to this plot, there might be a vault in under the hill and the foliage was planned.

Continue to the next vault.

Coleman mausoleum

Is this a vault or a mausoleum?

It has a door, but it also has a lawn instead of a proper roof. The door doesn't have a handle or a lock so perhaps it is not meant to be opened.

It is a vault and has some traditional architectural details.

Continue to the next vault.

Riddle vault

This IS a vault and appears to have the same dentils and molding style as the Coleman facade.

It also has the coziest front yard of the four.

Cross the road and continue uphill. On your right, next to the *Green* memorial, you will see an empty planter.


But... this is a planter with no plants. Why is this interesting?

Apart the lichen, which give a nice color variation, that the planter is made of four sections and held together with metal staple-like brackets. If there were plants you might not notice the planter at all.

Cross to the left side of the road. Turn left onto the curving grassy path. At the top of the hill, look right. You are looking for a tall cairn memorial under a tree.

Gunter memorial

This is another cairn memorial, this has a harp or lyre shaped object on top instead of a tree stump.

The top section is notable because it lacks the solid mass usually seen in carved stone (like the base). Think of the time and skill it took to carve out those delicate and thin elements without breaking them.

Look to your left at the small block of stone at the base of another memorial.


It has only the single name and looks like it was part of a separate memorial.

Who was Bertie?

Where is the rest of the memorial?

Return to the road, cross to the other side, and look for a LARGE cairn monument.

Fosdick monument

I believe this is the largest Cairn in the cemetery. Its size allows for an equally large collection of foliage specimens.

Cross to the left side of the road and look for a heavily verdigreed figure atop a pedestal.

Cooke monument

Like many of the other metal details, the verdigree really pops out from the foliage. She has a prime location, perched at the top of the hill looking out over the landscape.

This figure, with an elegant pose and fine details, would not look out of place in a museum.

Continue along the left side of the road. Just past the grassy path on the left you will see two tall memorials. You will probably notice the obelisk, but walk to the one that is to the left and in front; it reads Mary Ann.

Mary Ann memorial

This memorial looks like it belongs in an old churchyard. It is not flashy or showy or pretentious, but does have some interesting traditional details.

Especially the variety of lettering styles.

Section Four

38.244467, -85.719612
Check the Map
Cross to the right side of the road and turn right at the first road.
There are two Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
Section Five

Continue along the right side of the road. You will see a tall gazebo-like monument on the corner.

Bowles monument

This monument could be Folly on the grounds of an English Manor house. It is architectural without being a building.

Turn around and walk across the road.

Military memorials

You may have seen these rows of stones in other cemeteries, or perhaps in the movie "Harold and Maude". What they lack in details they make up for, unfortunately, with quantity. And with the changing patterns as you walk past.

Section Five

Check the Map

Continue to the intersection and turn left. Cross to the right hand side of the road. Stop at the third memorial past the M section marker.

Lily memorial

The memorial resembles a shallow niche or alcove. You can see a single name below the figure but the inscription and an epitaph are on the opposite side.

Cross to the left side of the road. Just past a wide grassy path and a small tree you will see the Haskell memorial–a broken column with a scroll on top. Just to the right and a little back look for a small white stone embedded in the ground.

Carry stone

After you notice one of these in-ground stones you can not stop seeing them. Was this upright and later fell over? Was it designed to be discreet?

It does not have a name or date, so who might this stone be for?

Return to the road and cross to the other side. Look down to see another fallen memorial.

Yager stone

Was this stone meant to be upright? In any case, the carving has resisted weathering.

Continue along the right hand side to the merging fork intersection. The Buckner monument is on your right.

Buckner monument

There is a lot to describe here, so we will start at the bottom and work up.

Notice how the stone has a wrinkly crepe paper-like texture. Perhaps this is caused by the softer parts of the stone weathering away.

The center section resembles a decorative candle and base. The very subtle color variations and soft edges look like poured wax.

The top section has more Winged Cherub heads and a stylized leaf detail above them.

One unusual thing is the corner torches, which are not Inverted and have flames so small that the torches look more like candles.

Section Six

38.247637, -85.721092
Check the Map
Continue through the merging fork and bear left at the next fork.
There is one Point of Interest in this section.

Skip to
Section Seven

Continue along the left side of the road. You are looking for a large white cross.

Huffman cross

The base is a fine example of a Cairn. The stones look realistic, are stacked haphazardly, and the foliage looks too delicate to be carved in stone. The name is just bold enough to stand out against the center stone (or, with the grain, wood?).

Next, the cross. The base tapers slightly where it rests on the cairn. The bark texture and tiny branches are slightly stylized to heighten their character–this is especially effective at the ends of the horizontal arms.

The real focus is the draped cloth. It is carved so realistically it could be actual heavily starched cloth.

Section Seven

38.247216, -85.721467
Check the Map
Continue along the left hand side of the road to the other side of the roundabout. This section ends at the first road on the right.
There are seven Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
Section Eight

Just past the roundabout you will see a tall squarish monument of white stone.

Throckmorton monument

The four Winged Cherubs are large and finely detailed. The garland, with its stylized flowers, manages to look both hard and flexible at the same time.

The center section shows some serious weathering damage. It really looks as if the softer stone is dissolving away.

Just behind and back you can see a small cross with a slanted horizontal beam.

Adams cross

This slant and the slenderness of the elements makes this cross unique.

Notice that the cairn base is made of slate-like stones and it set upon a darker stone-cut foundation.

Continue along the left side of the road. You will see the Martin obelisk under a Magnolia tree.

Marion Martin memorial

This memorial is carved to look like a Parchment Scroll draped over a headstone. At the bottom, you can see a flower with delicate leaves.

The interesting part is the tear in the parchment–what artifice! There is no way the carver tore the stone parchment while carving it, and this deliberate imperfection draws our attention.

Directly across the road you will see the back of a mausoleum.

Back of mausoleum

This mausoleum is on Stroll #3 but if you would like to see the roof details close up this is your chance.
Do it. Otherwise you will have to climb the hill and there is already plenty to see on that stroll.

Continue along the road. Just before the fork, look for an urn topped memorial with a profile portrait of a man on the front.

Lymon memorial

It seems that men are more likely represented as portraits rather than figures. You might see an occasional bust but it is otherwise angels.

Look to the left and further back to see an square memorial. Walk to the opposite side.

Hepburn memorial

The first thing to notice is the lyre on top. It is similar to the one you saw on the Gunter memorial. It rests on books and a scroll.

The carved illustration of a ship and palm trees is an especially nice example of this kind of detail.

Look to the right and a bit further back. Walk to the angel sitting on a cairn with a cross.

Downs monument

There are a lot of details here but the most impressive–and the reason to be careful–is the wings. I cannot imagine the skill necessary to carve these delicate wings without breaking them.

Notice that the angel has written an epitaph and there is a second on an emblem on the opposite side of the monument.

Section Eight

38.245783, -85.721718
Check the Map
Return to the road and continue along the right hand side to the fork. Turn right. This section ends at another road.
There are nine Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
The End

Cross to the left side of the road. Look for the Manly memorials and just behind you will find a gothic looking memorial.

Beebe memorial

This is another churchyard style memorial. The slate-gray color, the Gothic details, and the subtle lettering of the inscription invite a closer inspection.

Continue on the left side to the next plot. You will see another cairn memorial, this time with a column.

Murphy memorial

This time we are not interested in the cairn; instead, it is the two horizontal stones on the ground (and just to the right), and the two tiny memorials: a Cairn in front and a column in the back.

There is a grassy path next to the horizontal stones. Follow it back to the street and directly across the road to the memorial labeled Mother.

Burton memorial

There are a lot of details; the fern and the bottom edges of the scroll are finely carved.

However, I am not sure what the box-like objects stacked behind the scroll are. Boxes? Bricks?

Pay attention to this memorial. You might need it later.

Look across the street for a memorial that looks like a stack of wood.

Henchey memorial

We have seen memorials that look like stacks of stones and here we have one of stacked Logs.

Cross to the other side of the road again and walk to the tall rectangular memorial with a small obelisk on top.

Thomas memorial

The memorial has some nice details, but you want to look closely at that obelisk on top–it has feet.

Four of them.

Continue along the road and you will pass the White memorial with a large scroll. To the left of that you will see a small obelisk and just to the left of that a pair of headstones. That is our next stop.

Scheffer memorials

These memorials use the artifice of putting the inscription on a scroll that hangs in front of the headstone rather than on the headstone itself.

It works, and the curled bottom edges and floral details help make these noticeable from the street.

Look to the right for the memorial labeled Brother. Does it look familiar? A few details are slightly different but it is the same pattern as the Burton memorial.

Return to the road and continue along the left side. You will see a memorial with a small dog on top.

Evans memorial

The dog has a bed with tassels. The draped cloth below has an inscription that follows the folds of the cloth.

Walk across the road to the tall monument with an angel on top.

Burge memorial

As always, there are some details worth noticing, but really pay attention to those cherub heads.

Continue along the right side of the road. Just past a grassy path you will see our last stop–a tall white monument.

Wallace monument

We have seen a few of these tall rectangular monuments and this one feels the most architectural. Why?

The niche (with a rare male figure) makes it feel less of a solid block, it has a roof (or roof-like details), and the Gothic details add a visual depth.

Look closer at the Gothic details on the corners. They could be vertical elements resting on brackets but they could also be inverted torches.

You are done!

Continue to the intersection. There are several roads but the main road (with a solid white line) runs from left to right. The tree from the start of the stroll is directly across the road. Take the road to the left of the tree and the sidewalk back to the main gate is just to your right.


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