Well, I had many fun adventures yesterday, exploring our beloved Valley with the talented lensman Jeff Ziff. Actually, it won't be possible to present all of the material at once, in part because Jeff left for a vaycay in Maine this morning. Yesterday he took most of the photographs, thereby freeing me to do what I do best, which is run around and act crazy, but that also means we must wait for him to process the photos and video. However it shall all be released for your pleasure and enlightenment, dear readers, in the by and by. Today, I'll tell you about our visit to the Smith's Ferry Cemetery which is located in Holyoke on Route 5 near the Northampton line.
This is a small cemetery which you've probably driven past a million times but never stopped to visit. However, as a history nut I'm fond of cemeteries, as they are often the repositories of historical information that cannot be discovered otherwise. For many of the people of the past, their tombstone is the only permanent record of their lives. Here is a picture of me taking a picture of the statue (shown above) on the tomb of someone named Richard F. Underwood.
I thought this was a pretty creative grave marker. The last name is apparently represented by a single block etched Strain, with accompanying blocks giving the first initials of the deceased. I guess this is the technique for those who wish to be discreetly dead.
One of the largest monuments in the boneyard belongs to this dude, William Caldwell Bowlen.
Never heard of him. However a Holyoke history book about cemeteries, Stories in Stone has this to say about him:
William Caldwell Bowlen was born in Newburyport MA in 1868, where his Nova-Scotian-born father, William Bowlen, was a grocer.... W. C. Bowlen not only designed timeless silver patterns, he was a talented artist who created evocative images of the landscapes and people around him. He was also an etcher, one who engraves metal printing plates, and produced limited editions of his artworks. He died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of sixty-six, while attending an auction sale in Greenfield.
So he was a famous local artist who probably shouldn't have gotten so excited about an auction in Greenfield. Here is what we found odd about his tomb however - there are air grates on the top, as you can see in the picture below.
Why does a tomb need air grates? Was Mr. Bowlen intending to return to life, and wanted to be sure he had fresh air? When Mr. Bowlen was freshly dearly departed, wasn't there a danger that those air grates would spew forth a stinky smell? If anyone has an explanation for those grates, I'd love to hear it.
Anyway, next time you're zooming down Route Five, stop for a few minutes of peaceful historical contemplation among the old stones of Smith's Ferry Cemetery.
How do you like this neat shirt Andy bought me based on Springfield's Dr. Seuss?
Hey wait a minute! Isn't that the book Dr. Seuss wrote about getting old?
Did you have good times in the 1980's? I sure did, and this classic 80's tune reminds me of them.
All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy.