Category Archives: St. Michael’s Cemetery

Most remarkable for its stunning views of downtown and Oakland from a precipitous patch of hillside on the South Side Slopes.

Calvary Group, St. Michael’s Cemetery

This grouping more notable for its position than for its artistic quality (which is quite good but not extraordinary); it stands at the edge of a steep slope with a panoramic view of the Monongahela valley below. St. Michael’s is a German Catholic cemetery, so the inscription (“I am the resurrection and the life…”) is in German (with “May they rest in peace” Latin, of course).


Schertzinger Monument, St. Michael’s Cemetery

A popular style; there are several similar statue-on-pedestal monuments in this cemetery. This one has been covered with inscriptions on every available space, the base being pressed into service when there was no more room on the sides.

Benz Monument, St. Michael’s Cemetery

A fine example of the mid-Victorian marble monument, and very well preserved: the industrial atmosphere of Pittsburgh in its full-tilt hell-with-the-lid-off phase was generally not kind to marble. As with many of the older monuments in St. Michael’s, a German Catholic cemetery, it bears an inscription in German.

The Nusser monument in the South Side Cemetery is identical, except that there is also an ornate pinnacle; perhaps this one has lost its top.

Kubler Monument, St. Michael’s Cemetery

Almost all the monuments in St. Michael’s Cemetery are standard items from monument catalogues. (A century or so ago, you could even order cemetery monuments from Sears Roebuck, the way you ordered everything else from Sears.) This one is almost certainly a standard item, too, but it is a very unusual one, probably one of the more expensive monuments in the cemetery. The curving text of the inscriptions is a distinctive touch. There is space for a good many more inscriptions than were ever cut. The Kublers were born in “Lorraine, France”—an interesting distinction that is a little hard to interpret. When the Kublers were born, all of Lorraine belonged to France, but when they died a large part of it belonged to the German Empire, the fruit of the disastrous (for France) Franco-Prussian War.

John Schmotzer Mausoleum, St. Michael’s Cemetery

A good example of the standard-issue rustic mausoleum of the early to middle twentieth century, and a good example of the fate of many mausoleums in smaller cemeteries. The doors are gone; they were probably bronze, and doubtless were sold for scrap by the thieves. Whatever glass there was in the back is also gone. The mausoleum is now open to the elements; but, of course, it is so solidly constructed that it can probably remain that way for centuries.

Imling Monument, St. Michael’s Cemetery

The obelisk with a cross is peculiar to Catholic cemeteries; it is almost never found in Protestant cemeteries. Here is a typical example from St. Michael’s Cemetery, the vertiginous burying-ground of a German Catholic parish on the South Side Slopes. As with many of the older monuments here, the inscriptions are in German.

It appears that the family lost touch with this monument at some time between 1944 and, perhaps, 1960 or so; the death date of Anton Imling, born 1868, was never filled in.