Cave Hill Cemetery

Cemetery Motifs 301

Curated by
James Carroll

1.2 miles
48 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
Walk to the left of the tree and, at the intersection, turn left. Walk past the road immediately on the right (the end of stroll 2).
There are thirteen Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
Section Two

Immediately to your right you will see a tall white monument with gothic details.

Wallace monument

You might recognize this monument from the end of Stroll 2. In any case, just pay attention to the details, the figure, the stone itself.

It will be important later.

Trust me. You might even take some photos.

Continue along the right side of the road to the next tall white monument.

Garvin monument

First thing, notice the seated angel; we have not seen one since Stroll 1. Next is the Winged Cherub faces.

Look to the left and a little back.


You will see two book memorials. Both have scrolls and one has that artifice of looking cracked. The books have text, though it is hard to read.

Now walk around them to see the details on the sides.

Continue along the right side of the road to the next monument.

Wilder monument

You might notice the pair of angels leaning on their trumpets. You can see a similar pair at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta. Now look at the figures at the top. There are a couple of unusual attributes; do you know what they are?

They are in contemporary (for the time) dress–no classical robes here. Even so, there is plenty of draped cloth. Then, there is a male figure. They are rare and most guys are represented with profile portraits.

Continue along the right side of the road to the dark gray obelisk.

Guthrie monument

See what I mean? No figure, just a portrait.

But, we are interested in the memorial just BEHIND the obelisk. What draws the eye first is the large inscription plaque. It has some interesting details: the corner fans, the Clasped Hands, and the tassels that rest over the names.

Just below is a pair of profile portraits. Again, this is not unusual for a male, but it IS rare for a female.

Continue along the road, passing the road on the right, and stop at the first tall monument.

Hikes - Tucker monument

This monument has details you have seen many times before, but it is the cherub heads that stand out. They were on the corners of the Garvin monument, but seem more Sepulchral here.

Perhaps because they are splayed against the sides of the monument and look a bit taxidermied?

Continue along the right side of the road to the dark stone obelisk.

Page obelisk

Yet another profile portrait. This time, though, it is in three-quarter profile.

Just to the left you will find the Casseday memorial.

Casseday memorial

It has an unique style and plenty of text. The sphere at the top is most interesting. It seems to be resting on clouds and the rare Star is ascending to Heaven.

Return to the road and look to the left. Walk to the large scalloped shell.

Hoyt shell

So far, this is the only cairn with a Shell on top. But that is not why we are here–walk around to the other side.

Oh my.

I first saw this figure from a distance and had to come look. I believe this is due to weathering and there is another figure that is not this far gone. Fortunately, the rest of the finely carved details have survived.

Continue along the road. You are looking for a monument that is topped by a square gazebo (a Folly) with corkscrew columns.

Graham monument

Look at the three figures. The right one is missing details, the left one is intact, and the center one–that seems to be the most protected, is missing details AND looks dissolved.

There is a makers mark on the top stair to the right of the name.

Continue along the road, passing the road on the right, and stop at the monument with five figures.

Lithgow monument

And we have another seated angel. I guess they are less rare than I thought. But notice that the angel is not sitting on a chair or stool, but on a Cairn.

Look at the small shell memorial to the immediate right.

Edwin memorial

Actually, this is not a shell, but instead a bower made of leaves. And these are some serious leaves–notice how they flow up and over on the back of the memorial.

Continue along the road. As you approach an intersection in the road, you will see, on your right, an arch-shaped memorial with a female figure in the center.

Stowe memorial

The figure is in classic robes and is tucked into an alcove or a niche. There are some recognizable motifs as well.

Section Two

38.246937, -85.722878
Check the Map
Continue through the left side of the fork. At the next fork, bear right.
There are nine Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
Section Three

Continue along the right side of the road. You are looking for an angel memorial; it is just past the Detchen column and behind a small Dogwood tree.

Ropke memorial

Yep, this is another Cairn–but this time it has an angel on top. Notice how the front of the memorial has some common symbols, while the name is on the reverse.

Continue along the road. Immediately past a large tree you will see a circular collection of memorials with an obelisk at the center front. To the left and in the back you will see a memorial that looks like a table.

Table tomb

It is called a Table Tomb because... it looks like a table. And it is the only one I have ever seen outside a book.

Return to the road and cross directly to the other side. ou will see a tall slender memorial.


Mechanic Fire Co memorial

Also notice those carved blocks on the borders of the plots. They are really ornate for something that sits by the road.

And large.

Cross to the right side of the road. Just to the left you will see a pair of obelisks. Look between them and you will see a box-like memorial that has a angled top. That is the next stop.

Russel memorial

Why is the top set at an angle?

Who knows. It does make room for the flowers on one end and creates a cozy space for the name at the other.

Remember the box-like memorial next to the table tomb?

No? It was just a box. The angled top makes this something different and the shape draws the eye.

Return to the road and continue along the right side. You are looking for a tall rectangular memorial with a raised top and an urn.

Churchill memorial

There are some nice architectural or furniture-like details, but we are interested in the top. More specifically, what is raising the top off the lower part.


There was a Memorial With Feet on Stroll 2. Of course, lots of furniture pieces have feet but they are rare in cemeteries–unless they are attached to an animal. But, I guess, they are sort of classically classical.

This will take some careful searching.

Cross to the left side of the road and just past the Muir cross. You are looking for a small headstone that has a wave-like shape that terminates in a scroll. It is set a bit away from the road and you will see the back and left side from the road.

Elizabeth memorial

Why is this important?

Because it is small and tucked off the road and does not face the road and has an interesting shape.

But mostly because I noticed it.

As you return to the road, look on the ground to your left. You will see another headstone embedded in the ground.

Blair memorial

This looks like a stone that started out vertical. Now it is horizontal, broken, and easily overlooked. But it does have some nice Gothic details and is a reminder to Look Around.

Return to road. Turn left and just past the grassy path you will see a familiar looking tall white monument.

Anderson monument

Yep, it looks like the very first monument on this stroll. There are some differences: this one is topped with a cross and the other does not, the other has an epitaph below the figure while this one does not.

But, the major difference is how the monuments have weathered. The first monument shows some surface damage, but this one has lost a lot of its surface–like the Throckmorton monument in Stroll 2.

Just to the right, you can see a line of four memorials.

Anderson crosses

Three are crosses in a variety of styles, from simple to ornate. The fourth–and smallest–has been so cunningly stylized that it resembles a highly-detailed vase or urn.
Okay, that last bit is not true at all.

Section Three

Check the Map
38.247631, -85.721233
Continue along the road and bear right at the fork.
There are five Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
Section Four

As soon as you pass the fork move to the right side of the road. You are looking for a tall white obelisk hidden between a couple of trees.

Shreve monument

The obelisk is a good marker, but we are interested in the entire collection of memorials. There is a cairn, a tree stump, an angel, and a variety of smaller shapes–all in a white stone that pops from the landscape.

Continue along the right side of the road to the small cabin.

Shelter house

The rustic exterior helps the building fade into the landscape.

Cross to the left side of the road and look for the Varble monument under some trees.

Varble monument

This monument is similar to the tomb-like monuments on Stroll 1, but it is lacking columns. The interesting bit is the anchor–this is the first one that is not stone.

Cross the road. Just to the left you will see a pair of mossy-gray colored monuments. Stop at the first one.

Bullitt memorial

These are easy to overlook (I did) but they are worth a stop.

First, the stone is unusual in color and texture–it just looks vintage. The Copperplate script makes it look even more vintage. And then the details look like illustrations from a Victorian book.

Just to the left is another memorial that looks similar.

Gwalthmey memorial

Just to the left is another memorial–for a different family but using the same stone. This one looks even more like a Victorian illustration. And, it has an illustrated panel.

Section Four

38.246294, -85.720802
Check the Map
Continue to the intersection. You will see a mausoleum directly across the road.
There are ten Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
Section Five

Cross the road to the mausoleum.

Smith mausoleum

This mausoleum looks like a bank or government building. The solid foundation, the columns, the large blocks of the walls, and even the roof details make this look like a building you could see downtown.

Also, notice the fan-like detail above the porch. You have seen this before and it is very common.

Return to the road and cross to the opposite side. Turn left onto the first grassy path. Turn right onto the next grassy path; there will a large tree to your left.

Just behind the tree, you will see a large cairn memorial.

Speed monument

If you look closely you can see a large tree stump on top of the Cairn. There is a good variety of foliage, but go check out the other side.

Wow! It looks like a rainforest back here.

Return to the road, turn left, and cross to the other side. You will see a plot with a metal fence around it. Walk along the left side of the fence to the shell.

Carter shell

The figure has changed, but the details are the same as in the earlier Hoyt shell. It has the same cinnamon-roll scroll, the name banner below the figure, and the inscription details on either side.

Look immediately yo your left. You will see a monument with faces on the upper corners.

Tyler monument

There are some nice architectural details but we are interested in the faces at the top.

There is another Winged Cherub head, this time looking almost too old to be a cherub. The four corner faces do not look at all happy. They do, however, have a nice texture and they are low enough to see up close.

And, there is another fan-like detail above the cherub.

Immediately to the left you can see the next stop–a tall monument with a bathtub-like object at the top.

Jacob monument

This is a boxy-looking monument, with some of the motifs we have seen before. What makes this unusual is the Tomb monument at the top. A monument on top of a monument?

Yes, and look closer. There are pairs of Cherubs in each corner looking out. Are they taking a bath? Just enjoying the view?

Directly behind the Jacob monument you will see the Pope memorials. You want the one to the left of the angel.

Pope memorial

The dramatic white highlight catches the eye and helps those details pop. But, the draped cloth might be the most important part. Why?

Walk around to the back. The cloth is draped over the back as well–in a place nobody is likely to be looking.

Return to the road and turn right. On your right you will see an obelisk flanked by two urns. Just to the left and in the next row back you will see an arch-shaped niche memorial.

Richards memorial

This niche shows a fountain filling a basin.

Return to the road and turn right. The second grassy path has a tree in the middle. The next stop is just to the right of the tree.

Thruston monument

There are many details here: Urns, inverted brackets, an angel, architectural bits, and Inverted Torches. The flames are especially detailed and dramatic.

The row of smaller memorials in front show a variety of motifs.

Walk to the horizontal cross that is just across the grassy path.

Ballard cross

You have seen these crosses on other strolls. What makes this one special?

It has a base, it has an ornamental wreath, and it is about time we pay attention to one.

Return to the road. Just to the left of the Magnolia tree is a monument that looks a bit like a grandfather clock.

Trabue monument

The figure at the top is worth a look, but there is something more important.

Remember all those fan-like details I pointed out? Look at the corners above the inverted torches. The details are now 3D. And even more important, the leaves are separated and delicate.

Can you imagine trying to carve those without breaking a leaf and ruining the entire piece?

Section Five

38.245931, -85.721362
Check the Map
Continue to the intersection and turn left.
There are no Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
Section Six

Section Six

38.245734, -85.721766
Check the Map
Turn right at the first road.
There are eleven Points of Interest in this section.

Skip to
The End

There is a grassy path almost immediately to your left. Follow the path and look to your right.

Satterwhite memorial

This is the most monumental of all the memorials here. I will not even try to describe it–just look around.

Return to the road, turn left, and cross to the opposite side. Stop at the first vault.

Unknown vault

This vault has no name and a simple facade. It does have that exuberant collection of details above the door, including a fan-like leaf detail.

Continue along the road to the next three vaults.

Three Vaults

These vaults have architectural details but no ornamentation.

Notice how the first two share similar styles and the latter two share a name.

Walk to the mausoleum that is just to the left of the vaults.

Shannon mausoleum

This mausoleum does not have the architectural forms we saw in Stroll 1–it is just a box–but who cares. It becomes a canvas for all this ornamentation.

Columns, swags, lions, brackets, dentils, foliage, flowers and everything along the roof.

Pay close attention to the lions–they are not all the same.

Continue around the curve to the next vault-like structure.

Sherley monument

This is confusing. It is not a mausoleum because it is not a building. It resembles a vault but there is no hill behind it. It could be a monument in the shape of a gate.

In any case, this is the only one like it. It feels very theatrical and the roughly cut sphere adds to the drama.

Continue along the road to the next mausoleum.

Spotts mausoleum

What makes this mausoleum stand out is that it sits on a hill. Those uneven stairs are really not inviting. There are no windows and the solid door belongs on a vault.

Cross to the left side of the road and continue around the curve. On the other side of the hedgerow you will see a sculpture of a male figure.

Rosky memorial

Most of the figures we have seen have static poses: they are standing, or sitting, or have an arm raised. Like on of the angels in Stroll 1, this is a very dynamic pose and worth noticing.

Look to the right for a pair of tall planters.


Why are they here? What are they for?

It does not matter. They have a lot of details and it is a pleasant surprise seeing them tucked away under some trees.

Return to the road and turn left. Walk past the road on your right and just past a forked grassy path you will see a column memorial with a draped cloth over the top.

Halbert memorial

There are several motifs you will easily recognize and some delicate floral details. The stone has the same kind of weathering and color variations that we have seen before.

This is the last stop and it requires some careful searching.

Continue along the left side of the road. You will see a horizontal cross and then a birdbath memorial. When you see the Mills memorial, look behind it and slightly to the left.

Walk to the cairn memorial that has two columns.

Bradley memorial

We have seen Cairn memorials with single columns before but this is the only double column one I have seen. The columns have different heights and are wider than the cairn they are balanced on.

The opposite side has a scroll with a detailed epitaph.

When you are on the epitaph side, turn completely around. You will see a tall obelisk. Go around to the opposite side.

Bradley obelisk

Look above the inscription. You will see a metal wreath below a textured hollow. There is a small hole at the bottom of the hollow. What is this?

It is likely that the hollow held a profile portrait of Mr. Bradley at one time.

You are done!

Check the Map
Return to the road and continue to the intersection. You will see a sidewalk across the road and a little to the left. Take the sidewalk back to the main gate.


This page intentionally left blank.

You are here: