One of the grandest monuments in this half-forgotten cemetery, and one of the small number with German rather than English inscriptions. It memorializes a number of Beckers, but Jacob Becker is the only one who gets a “Hier ruhet” (“Here lies”). Are the Becker children buried elsewhere? If they are buried here, they must be among the earliest burials at this site.
Room is left to fill in the death date of Mathilda Becker, who was born in 1874 and is presumably still alive today at the age of 140. We may guess that Mathilda lived past 1907, at any rate, when the most recent date on the stone was carved. jacob and Margaretha Becker had six children, of whom four died in early childhood, one died in adolescence, and Mathilda apparently survived them.
This strange combination of symbols stands out as the oddest monument in the not-quite-forgotten German Lutheran cemetery in Beechview. The cemetery is mowed a few times a year in a haphazard fashion, with many of the graves now entirely engulfed by woods, and most of the rest surrounded by weeds; we were fortunate to arrive when the weeds had recently been given their annual trimming. Fred and Carolina Brick are remembered on a scroll in front of a draped rustic seat on top of a cushion sitting on a tree stump, with a calla and a fern in front.
This monument in the Victorian Romantic style is such a jumble of metaphors that old Pa Pitt is reluctant to try to untangle it. A number of elements—calla, ferns, cushion, scroll, drapery, rustic seat—are rendered individually with great realism, but thrown together in an extraordinarily unlikely way. The monument can be found (but probably won’t be found by most people) in a nearly forgotten German Lutheran cemetery on a hillside in Beechview.
In the nineteenth century, churches usually built their cemeteries outside the city. At the turn of the twentieth, when the rapidly expanding streetcar lines triggered a storm of new development all around Pittsburgh, many of those cemeteries ended up surrounded by crowded urban neighborhoods. This one in Beechview is not quite forgotten; someone comes to mow it two or three times a year, but much of it is so overgrown by now that it’s immune to the mower.