Friday, August 29, 2008

Rockville Cemetery


Rockville Cemetery sits on a large swathe of land at Ocean Avenue and Merrick Road, right on the border of Lynbrook and Rockville Centre. It dates back to the late eighteenth century, and was once a churchyard. Today it's a non-sectarian burying ground, still open, and noted for several things, among them a large eastern section of ground-level markers (with a smaller section on the western border), numerous zinc markers, and the stele (above) marking the mass graves and memorializing the victims of two great shipwrecks off the coast of Long Island in the late 1830's.


The zinc markers, I think, are my favorite finds in any cemetery. They were originally marketed as 'white bronze', and sometimes are mistakenly referred to as cast-iron. They weather well, and nothing grows on them because of the chemical reaction of zinc and organic material. It seems that families would purchase a marker and erect it with the first death. As more family members joined the reserve, the decorative panels on the other three sides would be removed and replaced with names and dates and epitaphs. Occasionally there will be granite footstones nearby.

Legend has it that many of these hollow monuments were used as drop points for bootleggers during Prohibition. Perhaps some were, once or twice, for small amounts, but the absolute bother of moving bottles in and out of the small openings makes the idea rather unlikely. If they were used at all it was more sensible that they'd be used as money drops.

6 comments:

Sharon said...

Those are outSTANDing!

Anonymous said...

Yes. They are outstanding in the rain, snow, sleet, and hail.

hamilton said...

The post processing effect you have used in these shots is wonderfully atmospheric.
I must start searching for some of these zinc markers in our cemetery.

Sondra said...

These markers look so clean and sharp!! Interesting story of the bootleggers!!

VioletSky said...

This all looks so otherworldly!
The nefarious among us certainly knew how to at least try to make use of every possibility!

Julie said...

Now, I had a marker pointed out to me at the weekend that was made from steel and was likened to an IKEA flatpack. It was not the most attractive of markers and had no text upon it.

I love the little yarns that you toss into your posts. Personalises the story line so very well.