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    Green-Wood Cemetery's 12 "Must See" Monuments

    As a funeral director and avid taphophile (one who is interested in the history and architecture found in cemeteries), I have seen more than my fair share of burial grounds. Over the years, I have written profiles about a number of notable cemeteries for “American Cemetery Magazine.” One in particular, Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, has continuously grabbed my attention. In 2008, I wrote a book about this National Historic Landmark. The famous names read like a Who's Who of America: Currier and Ives, Steinway, Tiffany, Greeley, Sperry, Morse, Bernstein, Squibb, Pfizer, and FAO Schwarz. Yet, they comprise only a tiny fraction of the almost 600,000 people interred there. At 478 acres, Green-Wood is the largest cemetery in New York City. A visitor could spend weeks roaming its beautiful grounds and still not see it all. For a person with limited time to tour Green-Wood, here are a dozen monuments not to be missed.

    1. Henry Evelyn Pierrepont

    Alexandra k. Mosca

    Often referred to as "The Father of Green-Wood," it was Henry Evelyn Pierrepont's vision and planning that made Green-Wood happen. Pierrepont's Gothic-Revival open-air mausoleum was designed by famed architect Richard Upjohn.

    2. DeWitt Clinton

    Alexandra K. Mosca

    DeWitt Clinton was many things to New Yorkers: Governor, Senator and Mayor. He was also instrumental in the construction of the Erie Canal. Clinton also played a large part in Green-Wood's history as his burial became the cemetery’s first major tourist attraction. The exquisitely detailed bas-relief panel, which serves as the base for Clinton's monument, was crafted by Henry Kirke Brown.

    3. Angel of Grief

    Alexandra K. Mosca

    In the 1890s, noted American sculptor William Wetmore Story created the Angel of Grief monument for his future grave site in Rome's Protestant Cemetery. A number of replicas of the Angel of Grief -- also referred to as the Weeping Angel --can be seen around the country in various cemeteries. This early 20th Century version is one such replica and commemorates the Cassard family.

    4. ASPCA Founder Henry Bergh

    Alexandra K. Mosca

    ASPCA founder Henry Bergh died during The Great Blizzard of 1888 and is entombed along with his wife, Catherine. In 2006, Bergh was honored in a ceremony at Green-Wood, during which the bas-relief gracing the front of his mausoleum was unveiled to the public. As a special consideration, pets were allowed into the cemetery for the first time in over 100 years.

    5. Jane Griffith

    Alexandra K. Mosca

    The last hours of Jane Griffith's life are depicted on her monument. Crafted by noted Italian sculptor, Patrizio Piatti, the scene shows her husband, Charles, bidding her goodbye for what would be the last time as he left for work. When he returned home, Jane was dead.

    6. Little Drummer Boy

    Alexandra K. Mosca

    In 1861, 12-year-old Clarence Mackenzie signed on with the Thirteenth Regiment of the New York State Militia as a drummer boy. Months later, Mackenzie was fatally wounded by the accidental discharge of a musket, becoming Brooklyn’s first Civil War casualty. Originally, he was buried in a public lot on the grounds, with only a wooden sign to mark his grave. His remains were moved to the Soldiers' Lot, and marked by this zinc statue, after his story was included in a 1878 book about the cemetery.

    7. The Mackay Family

    Alexandra K. Mosca

    Patriarch John W. Mackay made his fortune in mining and could well afford a final resting place estimated to have cost more than $250,000 upon its completion in 1898. Construction on the family mausoleum--which contains heat, electricity and an altar-- began in 1895, after the sudden death of Mackay's eldest son, John Jr. Mackay's wife, Louise, and their son Clarence are also entombed within. Mackay's granddaughter, Ellin, was the wife of world-renowned composer Irving Berlin. The Berlins are not entombed at Green-Wood.

    8. John Matthews

    Alexandra K. Mosca

    John Matthews became known as the "Soda Fountain King" after creating an apparatus that made carbonated beverages. His monument is a mix of architectural styles, the centerpiece being a sarcophagus of Matthews that shows him looking up at scenes from his life. Matthews died in 1870. That same year, the monument earned an unusual honor: It was voted "Mortuary Monument of the Year."

    9. Merello Volta

    Alexandra K. Mosca

    Legend has it that this monument was constructed for a Mafia bride whose husband was murdered on their wedding day. In fact, it commemorates the grave of 35-year-old Rosie Guarino, who was accidentally slain in a 1909 shooting incident inside her family's summer home.

    10. Mayor Charles Schieren

    Alexandra K. Mosca

    The “Angel of Death” marks the graves of Charles Schieren, the next-to-last mayor of Brooklyn, and his wife Mary Louise. The Schierens died from pneumonia within 24 hours of one another in 1915 and were buried in a double funeral.

    11. Henry Steinway

    Alexandra K. Mosca

    German immigrant, Henry Engelhard Steinway, became the premier piano maker in America. His imposing granite mausoleum is the largest in Green-Wood and has space for more than 200 entombments. Built in 1870 at a cost of about $50,000, the structure graces a hilltop. Steinway died a year later, and was the first to be entombed in the family mausoleum.

    12. Van Ness Parsons

    Alexandra K. Mosca

    Egyptian Revival architecture was a popular style of memorialization during the mid 19th Century. This fashionable trend made a resurgence in the 1920’s presumably because of the 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb. This pyramid-shaped mausoleum, which combines Christian religious statuary and Egyptian symbolism, is a fitting memorial for Albert Ross Parsons, a composer, musician, author and pyramid expert. His book, New Light from the Great Pyramid, was published in 1893.

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