Tag Archives: Stumps

Senn Family Plot, Rosedale Cemetery

The Senn family plot carries the rustic-stump metaphor to an odd extreme. One central stump is surrounded by small stumps, one for each deceased family member. If the stump represents a life cut off, then the most descriptive term for the metaphor applied to a whole family this way is “deforestation.”


Cneseth Israel Cemetery

This is what a typical Jewish cemetery looks like in Pittsburgh: straight rows of graves with foot-wide alleys between, each grave given just enough space for the coffin and no more. They look like crowded urban neighborhoods, and they are designed to make the most use of the least space.

For some reason, a large number of Jewish congregations in the city bought land for cemeteries in Reserve and Ross Townships north of the Allegheny. Many of them are not marked on maps, but a satellite view will reveal the distinctive tight rows of graves.

Because of frequent vandalism, many Jewish cemeteries are gated and locked, with “NO TRESPASSING” signs on the gates—a sorry reminder that, even today, it is not always easy being Jewish. This cemetery, however, was open (Father Pitt would never walk past a “NO TRESPASSING” sign without permission of the owners).

This cemetery is notable for the large number of stones with embedded photographs, and for a good number of rustic stumps crowded in with the rest of the monuments.

Kennedy Stump, Mount Olivet Cemetery

This hilltop cemetery has few really interesting monuments, but old Pa Pitt has a well-known weakness for rustic stumps. This looks like an early-twentieth-century stump, but all the Kennedys buried nearby died in the later twentieth century; we suspect, therefore, that the family bought the plot and erected the stump, and then went on to live long and prosperous lives for decades.

Schmidt Stump, Birmingham Cemetery

Some rustic stumps are so naturalistic that they are hard to distinguish at a distance from real tree stumps. Others look like they were drawn by Walt Disney in a slightly (but not very) gloomy mood. Those are Father Pitt’s favorites. Here is one of the most Disneyesque rustic stumps old Pa Pitt has ever seen. As anyone who has browsed this site knows, Father Pitt has a bit of a thing for rustic stumps (look in the index under “Stumps”); this one is near the top of his list.

Rustic Crucifix, St. Adalbert’s Cemetery

It is very frustrating to Father Pitt to be almost but not quite able to read the inscription on this monument. The fact that it is in Polish does not make matters easier; the fact that, while it uses the Latin alphabet, there are letters that seem to be a backwards N (like a Cyrillic И) makes it even more puzzling; but beyond those difficulties, there seem to be too many letters that are not legible at all. Perhaps they would show up in a different light.

The monument itself is striking: a crucifix in the romantic style of a rustic stump.

Here is the inscription, so that anyone who has better eyes than old Pa Pitt’s may attempt to read it, and perhaps leave a comment with a suggested interpretation: