THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Detours

Here are lives warmly celebrated in granite

Email|Print| Text size + By Diane Daniel
Globe Staff / August 1, 2004

BARRE, Vt. -- It was a dark and stormy day -- all the better for visiting Hope Cemetery, except that our marker map got soaked.

This is no ordinary final resting place, but a Louvre of memorial art. When you live granite, as a huge number of Italian immigrants did a century ago in this working-class central Vermont city, you die granite. What better way to memorialize a granite sculptor or a worker's loved one than with a locally produced, unique grave marker?

The 65-acre cemetery just north of Route 302 is a lovely setting for viewing and strolling. Visitors from all over the world are a common sight. A large burial service was going on when we were there late one afternoon, which kept our mood rather somber. That is, until we came upon the granite automobile marker, and the airplane, and the soccer ball. These markers celebrate life as much as mourn death, striking a balance between comical and poignant. One of my favorites was an oversize chair in the form of a favoritethe deceased had sat in.

The floral carvings are also quite something, and the Visitors Guide to Hope Cemetery, published by the Barre Granite Association, explains the meaning of some of the flowers. Roses symbolize love and wisdom, for example; Easter lilies, purity; and calla lilies, sympathy.

One of the most famous gravestones here is that of Elia Corti, who died in 1903 at 34. The statue was cut from a single piece of granite and is a life-size likeness of Corti, carved by his brother. In the sculpture, Corti is seated with his right elbow on his knee. Seams, wrinkles, creases, and buttons are detailed in his clothing. His face is extraordinarily lifelike. The tools of his trade surround him. All this from one block of rock.

You'll also come upon bas-reliefs, including one of an elaborate sailing ship said to symbolize salvation. There are family mausoleums as well. The Vanetti family's has eight crypts. The elaborate grillwork on the door is made from granite. This is a place to celebrate life and the rocks of ages.

Hope Cemetery
Merchant Street and Maple Avenue Barre, Vt.
802-476-6245
www.central-vt.com/visit/cemetery
For a map, contact the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce at 877-887-3678.

more stories like this

  • Email
  • Email
  • Print
  • Print
  • Single page
  • Single page
  • Reprints
  • Reprints
  • Share
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Comment
 
  • Share on DiggShare on Digg
  • Tag with Del.icio.us Save this article
  • powered by Del.icio.us
Your Name Your e-mail address (for return address purposes) E-mail address of recipients (separate multiple addresses with commas) Name and both e-mail fields are required.
Message (optional)
Disclaimer: Boston.com does not share this information or keep it permanently, as it is for the sole purpose of sending this one time e-mail.