While there has been work progressing on a number of projects for the site, sadly, they're probably not altogether visible. Several strange bugs crept in with pages that had been working fine, and so, this month has been spent playing exterminator. There are a few "bugly" type critters rolling around, and I'm hoping to tackle them and get back to adding content soon. One of these issues is within Internet Explorer browsers, and if you are using IE, it may seem as though there are missing images for many of the people in the database. This is part bug, and part data entry issue, which is to say, I've figured out why the problem exists, but, will need to work on a solution.
While not playing exterminator, a few more transcriptions have been completed. These are sadly still sitting in paper form waiting for a break in the "bug hunt." One of these is the Leader Church Cemetery in El Paso County, and another is a small cemetery in Boulder County.
White Bronze Markers
One of the more interesting and rare types of markers you'll see in older US cemeteries are the distinctive "White Bronze" markers. These were not made of bronze at all, but cast zinc. The markers were molded into metallic sheets, shipped from the factory, and assembled by fusing the pieces together with hot zinc. When first cast, these markers were white, but over time they took on a bluish hue. Many of the remaining examples in Colorado have attained a finish of dark gray. These markers were made from about 1870 to 1914, and represent a small window of cemetery art. They were sold in catalogs and by traveling salesmen, and were available in the most common marker styles of the era, but were far less expensive than their counterparts in materials such as marble or granite.
The most common type were four-sided obelisks, and each side's panel could be customized. The panels could even have a "temporary" panel with a symbol or plain design, and then, when a new panel was needed, a new one, with family names or inscriptions, could be ordered. The panels are held with basic screws, and could be interchanged quickly and easily.
Zinc markers became thought of as "tacky," which is one of the reasons why they fell out of favor so quickly. Ironically, many of these markers have endured in much better shape than their marble cousins, especially in terms of their inscriptions. The inscriptions on zinc markers are often still as clear today as the day they were cast.
Another factor contributing to the relative rarity of zinc markers still remaining today is that the material does become quite brittle over time, and if they are struck, they tend to shatter.
Cemetery buffs sometimes refer to these as "zinkers," and like to share newly discovered examples of this marker type on cemetery forums.
To identify a marker as zinc, first look for bluish-gray to dark gray markers. The markers will be hollow, and you will be able to see seams along each corner. Another tell-tale sign of a "zinker" are the acorn-like screws jutting out from the inscription panels on the corners. Don't let a marker's size fool you, either. These could as tall as 14 feet!
Riverside Cemetery, Denver's pioneer cemetery, has one of the most extensive collections of "zinkers," of any cemetery in the country. Large box-type markers, cherubs, lambs, and crosses of zinc can be found. The military section has a pair of zinc markers, topped with tall Civil War soldiers, one facing toward the main cemetery, guarding the civilian dead and the other watching over his comrades. The tallest of the two was recently restored, and is perhaps one of the most unique zinc markers in the world. The soldier's likeness was custom built with the face of the veteran whose grave he marks.
Cemetery of the Month
This month's cemetery might seem to be an odd choice. This month, the focus is on Mountain View Cemetery in Longmont. This is a lovely cemetery right in the heart of the city, along Main Street, with beautiful adult trees and winding paths. The cemetery was founded in 1876.
Around the Web
A Minnesota Cemetery has opened a special area especially for Asian families who choose their resting places according to the principles of feng shui.
A unique underwater sculpture garden serves as a peaceful final resting place for Florida residents.
Family members who cannot travel long distances to attend a funeral are taking advantage of today's technology to attend a funeral webcast.
Most of the stories you hear about historic cemeteries involve tragidies of neglect and vandalism. Here's one that offers good news: Philly Cemetery gets spruced up
It is not uncommon for cemeteries to become lost, sadly it happens more often to historic African-American burial grounds, as this re-discovered cemetery in Miami testifies.
A funeral home operates an unusual "hearse" in the UK.
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