Three articles on the Santa Barbara Cemetery published by Noozhawk, with a little awesome branding…
Despite Time and Place, Santa Barbara Cemetery Has Little-Known Civil War Link
Santa Barbara Cemetery was founded in July 1867 and opened in 1868. That date carries meaning for both the cemetery and Santa Barbara.
When the Civil War ended in 1865, America entered a period of mourning. The mourning was not just for the 500,000 dead, but was more acutely, and more simply, for the sake of mourning itself. In part, the United States had so little past compared to Europe, and to counter that fact, we took ourselves very seriously. To be fair, Europe, and especially England, were deeply imbued with Victorian seriousness themselves, and so maybe we were just copying.
Nevertheless, American journals topped up with articles on what was proper, tasteful, meaningful and righteous. And death did not escape this attention. The procedures and meaning of death were rapidly and deeply transformed. Between 1865 and 1900 the number of individual graves (as opposed to family plots) exploded, embalming was introduced and became popular, funeral parlors sprang up, sprawling but well-tended cemeteries on the outskirts took the place of small five-acre rectangles near town, and along with this sea change came highly formalized rites of mourning… Read the rest on Noozhawk.
Santa Barbara Cemetery Ever-Shifting Amid Culture Trends, Ground Realities
“People are moving,” explained Randy Thwing, manager of the Santa Barbara Cemetery overlooking the Pacific Ocean. “The kids move on and no one feels like a particular place is home.”
Cemeteries are, for the most part, figments of our past. They are from a time when a family name anchored not only a plot at the cemetery, but generations in the community. The patchwork of plots at a cemetery were once reflected in a patchwork of businesses, residences and lives. But such families are now rare. On average, Americans move between cities or towns 12 times in our lives. Our links to towns and therefore cemeteries are becoming all but vapor.
Open since 1868, and founded in 1867, the Santa Barbara Cemetery at 901 Channel Drive is 146 years old this year. I wrote a history of the cemetery, The Best Last Place: The History of the Santa Barbara Cemetery, which was published in 2006, and have given as many as 10 tours a year there since 1997. It’s time for an update… Read the rest on Noozhawk.
Empty Graves and Eternal Space at the Santa Barbara Cemetery
We think of cemeteries filling up. But like most things we think, we find we are — in unexpected and odd ways — wrong.
Santa Barbara Cemetery, founded in 1867, opened its (not very pearly) gates in 1868. The only plots you could purchase were 25-foot-by-25-foot family plots. Each plot was bordered on all four sides by a pathway or a road. The appearance on paper was striking. The cemetery was regimented, complete, stable.
First plot map of the Santa Barbara Cemetery. Order on linen did not make order on the ground.
On the earth, pathways and roads never materialized. What took shape were the slow proliferation of cared-for plots. Families such as the John Peck Sternses or the Pierces erected a family stone and then laid down six-inch by eight-inch by 10-foot sandstone curbs around their plots. The stone borders were set at the corners and plot midpoints with raised stone posts, typically about two-feet tall, tapering gently, sometimes to a simply formed stone ball at the top. Between the posts, a foot or so off the ground, a two-inch steel rod was run, creating a barrier to entry… Read the rest on Noozhawk.