ST. LOUIS CEMETERY
1167 Barret Avenue
Louisville, KY 40204
502.451.7710 Established: 1867
Bella Morte Rating: 2 Tombstones
Surrounded by a limestone wall stretching over one mile, Louisville’s Saint Louis Cemetery sits squarely in the midst of a residential area. Nearby are Louisville’s taphophilic gem, Cave Hill Cemetery, as well as the far less impressive St. Michael’s, Calvary and Louisville Cemeteries and the ever so uncreatively-named Eastern and Western Cemeteries.
Originally situated on the property of the parish church of the same name, Saint Louis Cemetery was first established in 1811. Those laid to rest there would never have guessed the journey that awaited their mortal remains. When the church was relocated in 1831, the beloved dead were reinterred in the consecrated ground of the Catholic section at Western Cemetery. Alas, their days of post-mortem meanderings were still not at an end. They endured one, presumably final, exhumation and reinterment in 1867 when the current Saint Louis Cemetery was established.
The cemetery was not particularly interesting to us. Although it contains a number of rather lovely raised monuments, obelisks and statues, as well as a few private family mausoleums, none were especially noteworthy save those erected to the memory of children. In this area, Saint Louis distinguished itself for, within its relatively small acreage, we discovered nine distinctive monuments to deceased infants and children.
The parents of two-year-old twins Chester and Arthur Krieger lovingly commissioned a statue of the brothers standing side-by-side, holding a wreath between them. As was common for the era, the boys are clothed in short gowns that resemble dresses. Sadly, Chester and Arthur have been decapitated, hopefully by time and the elements and not at the hands of vandals. The inscriptions on their worn stone are, however, still legible:
Chester Henry_______Arthur Louis
Sept. 15, 1887_______Sept. 15, 1887
Sept. 4, 1889_______June 2, 1889
Children of H. F. & M. C. Krieger
Two little buds of love to bloom with God above
It would have been wonderful to see the sculpture in its prime. Capturing images now, though possessing its own merits and charms, still cannot secure the glory of the past.
Elsewhere on the grounds, the likeness of little Mary Borden steps lightly over her grave while “Our Aline – aged 3 yrs, 2 mo. 27 days,” sits, hands clasped, above the Wilberding plot. How touching to think of her parents memorializing so carefully her brief time with them.
Continuing the theme, “Our Angel - Virgie Aileen - Daughter of J.T. & K.M. Hocker – Nov. 29, 1877 – Mar. 17, 1890” embraces a cross of wood and gazes mournfully towards the ground. Similarly, the monument to young master Perry depicts him seated atop a pile of stones. He is dressed in full formal attire and his right arm encircles a cross.
Our favourite of the child memorials is that of Gertrude Lilly (Oct. 22, 1883 – Jan. 12, 1890) and Henry Charles (June 3, 1886 – Jan 3, 1890) the children of John A. & Fannie Harig Doyle. Depicted gently clasping the hem of her dress, Gertrude rests her other hand on her brother’s shoulder and leans solicitously over him as he gazes towards the ground. Presumably the victims of some childhood contagion, Gertrude followed her younger sibling to the grave a mere nine days after his death.
While Saint Louis is most-assuredly not a “destination” cemetery, it nevertheless deserves a visit while in the area to enjoy the beauty of nearby Cave Hill Cemetery.