Weekly Photo Challenge: Numbers

Child’s monument, Old CIty Cemetery

This tiny little lamb is sacred to the memory of a boy who died at the age of one year, eight months, and eight days old. Figuring the length of a life to the day was common in the later half of the 19th century. I pity the families, calculating their loss to the day.

The Old City Cemetery in the California state capitol is full of children’s graves. They are guarded by lambs and stone rosebuds with broken stems, by doves and little angels, all symbols of innocence.

Sacramento, approximately 70 miles northeast of San Francisco, became the first Californian boomtown in 1849. As such, it grew immensely wealthy. The former frontier outpost benefited as the last provisioning point for the forty-niners on their way up to the Sierra gold fields. Between 1848 and 1853, over half a million people passed through Sacramento on the way to seek their fortunes.

Sacramento City Cemetery was founded by a city ordinance in December 1849 to be a “public grave yard” unaffiliated with any religious organization. It remains as the oldest original (non-rebuilt) historical site in Sacramento.

It is an incredibly beautiful place. Beneath the arching branches of oaks and the fronds of palms, white marble markers rise against the flawless blue Californian sky. Ornamentation varies from faux Egyptian to upright Protestant obelisks, from hands clutching each other throughout eternity to angels and muses standing upright against their grief.

Cemetery of the Week #66: Old City Cemetery, Sacramento, California

About Loren Rhoads

I am the author of the essay collection Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, co-author of the novel As Above, So Below, and editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two. Scribner published my favorite essays from Morbid Curiosity magazine as Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues. In addition to blogging at CemeteryTravel.com, I blog about my morbid life at lorenrhoads.com.
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3 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Numbers

  1. Wednesday says:

    You need to come here for a personal tour! There are some incredible stories behind (or under, I should say) the headstones. I don’t know anything about little Benjamin Crocker, but according to the cemetery index he died of dysentery.

  2. Loren Rhoads says:

    I would love to have a private tour. It’s been too long since you and I went exploring graveyards.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition | Cemetery Travel: Adventures in Graveyards Around the World

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