When the kids head out on every other Friday night for the weekend with their Dads, it’s time for us to figure out what our next weekend New England road trip will be. We venture off for hours at a time on the road without a committed destination in mind. Sometimes we will look up unique or weird places to see in Vermont or New Hampshire, other times we will simply pop $20 in the gas tank and drive to see what we see. On this particular weekend we happened to have a destination in mind, Hope Cemetery in Barre Vermont which is known as the Granite Capital of the World.
When you first venture into this cemetery you will be amazed at all there is to see, the beautiful granite sculptures almost make you forget that you are actually in a cemetery. The beautiful sculptures showcase the life of each person buried in this place and it’s simply beautiful.
Established in 1895, Hope Cemetery started off as about 53 acres of land. The granite industry was expanding at this time which led artisans, mostly from Italy to travel to the United States to work their artistic skill on granite slabs. Back at this time granite was predominately used for tombstones and memorials.
Silicosis, a respiratory disease caused by granite dust, was quite common during this era when granite was a booming industry. Many people were dying from this disease and as we walked around Hope Cemetery we soon found the cause of death for many in this location were silicosis. It made me sad to think so many died back then from their work that they loved so much.
The Spanish Flu also hit around the early 1900’s which led to more deaths. Within the Hope Cemetery today you will see magnificent tombstones built from granite. They look to be the work of true artists who took the time to share the story of each deceased person through the artful talent of granite carving.
Today the location is about 65 acres and its said to have over 10,000 tombstones and memorials inside. We took a stroll through the whole cemetery and snapped photos of our favorite, most memorable tombstones along the way.
For some reason, we just love finding locations like Hope Cemetery in Barre, VT. There’s something about looking at the gravestones from the 1800’s and thinking about what type of life they lived back them. Times sure have changed, now in the 2017 many don’t even realized it’s disrespectful to sit on a tombstone or memorial, they walk all over them. I was raised in an era where my loved ones taught me to never walk where somewhere is buried and never to walk on or sit on a memorial or tombstone, it’s simply wrong to do such a thing.
Well, if you are in the area of Barre, Vermont and looking to see the magnificent sculptures of artisans from all over the world, including Italy, then I invite you to check out Hope Cemetery, it truly is a sight to see.
Hope Cemetery is located at 201 Maple Ave in Barre, VT 05641.