Thursday, June 7, 2012

Waukesha's Prairie Home Cemetary Tour

I'm not usually a morbid person.  I'm not a huge fan of Halloween or horror films, and I normally would not be one to trapse through a cemetary on a Sunday afternoon looking for photo opportunities.  But, they are a great place to get shots of unique architecture and design, and one of the best I've been to is right in my backyard (although not literally): Prairie Home Cemetary in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Waukesha has been home to many prominent citizens in it's +200 year history, and it's no secret that some of its citizens have been some of the wealthiest in the state.  So I guess it's no surprise that headstones and markers in Prairie Home Cemetary would be so unique (see above for example - I mean, who puts a finger pointing to heaven at the top of their grave marker?).  But, thanks to a friend of mine who runs a photo challenge through Facebook, I had an excuse.  And, I must say, although it was quite morbid, I had a lot of fun.

The photo above and the two below were taken in a section of the cemetary dedicated to veterans of foreign wars.  Many of the veterans buried here served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East.  One of my friends from Waukesha South High School, Eric Smith, died in a helicopter crash in Iraq in 2005, and I did go through the rows of headstones to see if I could find his, but I didn't see it.  It was interesting to see all the different headstones, however, and I was glad I was able to take pictures post-Memorial Day.

Marker in front of the howitzer (above)

There were a few mauseleum's on the grounds as well for Waukesha's more prominent citizens as seen above and below. 

I had never seen such large headstones and markers as when I visited on Sunday.  I thought the two below were especially interesting:

 But, the most prominent citizen laid to rest at Prairie Home Cemetary is definitely Les Paul, the inventor of the electric guitar (please see my post "My Hometown: Guitar Town" to see last weekend's festivities in his honor).  Going to his gravesite reminded me a lot of when I saw Elvis Presley's gravesite at Graceland, especially the side-by-side graves of Les and his wife  (unfortunately, I couldn't get a good enough shot of them both).

Around the grave site is a wall featuring Les Paul's amazing accomplishments including awards and accolades.  But I loved the quote shown below for it's inspirational message.

All in all, it was a very peaceful afternoon at my city's cemetary.  I'm planning to move to the Bayview area of Milwaukee in the fall, so it was great to have an excuse to visit for possibly the last time.

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