About Loren Rhoads

Loren at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park

My fascination with graveyards goes way back.  In the 1990s, I edited Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries. Spanning the globe from Argentina to Wall Street, 27 photographers and authors documented the residences of the dead. They examined teenage suicide, the death of parents and friends, their own mortality, the transience of fame, and the nature of death itself.  The book has been out of print for years, but used copies occasionally turn up on Amazon: Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries.

Between 1997 and 2002, I wrote a monthly series of travel essays about visiting cemeteries on Gothic.Net.  Some of those essays were collected in Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, published by Western Legends Press in May 2013.  Other essays in the book originally appeared in Travelers’ Tales: Paris and in my Morbid Curiosity magazine, as well as in Morbid Outlook, Eleven Eleven, and other places.

In addition to writing CemeteryTravel.com, I’m busily exploring the historic and pioneer graveyards of the San Francisco Bay Area. To that end, I’m now arranging cemetery tours for the San Francisco Obscura Society.

Are you having cemetery adventures of your own?  I’ve made a notebook in which to record your field notes and observations.  The Cemetery Travels Notebook features 80 lined pages, interspersed with 20 lush full-page color photographs of cemeteries from Paris to Tokyo–with stops at Sleepy Hollow, San Francisco, and all points between–to inspire your wanderlust.  You can order a copy from Blurb.

I’ve been a member of the Association for Gravestone Studies since 1999. I joined the Association of Graveyard Rabbits in Summer 2011.  You can follow my cemetery discoveries on the web on Pinterest.

Finally, in 2012, I was honored to speak at the lovely Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California.  In October 2014, I’m going to talk about my research into the missing cemeteries of San Francisco at the Death Salon Forum.  I would love to talk to your group about cemeteries as travel destinations.

You can contact me by leaving a public message below or a private message here.

24 Responses to About Loren Rhoads

  1. Hi Loren, I enjoyed your blog. I too love cemeteries. I’m an author and photographer and spend much of my time photographing cemetery monuments. I read epitaphs and research some of the more obscure occupants to bring their stories to life. I also advise on grave symbolism and am involved with monument restoration and preservation to help future generations enjoy an important part of our history and heritage. I have published a series of books, Silent Cities, about cemetery monuments as well as The Lost Language of Cemeteries about grave symbolism.

    Jeane Trend-Hill, Essex UK.

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  2. Loren, you have taken tapophilia to glorious heights! Visit us at Riverside Cemetery (the one in Macon, Georgia-there are dozens of Riv Cems across the nation. Some states, like Massachussetts, have a Riv Cem in each of several little towns along a river that winds through the state. )

    Our landscape was designed by Calvert Vaux in 1887. Resting here are famous sports figures-boxer William Lawrence “Young” Stribling and “Miracle Man of the Diamond,” George Stallings, Sr. There is a man who was buried standing up in observance of an easter rite. The gypsy queen of North America was laid to rest with hundred dollar bills rolled up between her fingers. A woman born into slavery who died during the Great Depression was buried on the family lot of a prominent white family by their scion, a man whom she had cared for in his childhood.

    Come to Spirits in October, when visitors go back in time as costumed actors at graveside put a human face on history.

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    • lorenrhoads says:

      Oh, Riverside looks lovely! Thank you so much for the invitation. I’m not as familiar as I should be with the cemeteries of Georgia. I think it’s time to plan a road trip!

      Like

  3. Guire John Cleary says:

    I am the former Curator of Mission Dolores in San Francisco (1999-2004). I recently came upon your article on the cemetery at Mission San Francisco de Asis. Yours is one of the best written and factually accurate descriptions I have seen to date. Great work and well done!

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    • lorenrhoads says:

      Thanks so much for your note! I took one of your tours with the San Francisco Historical Association, which I very much enjoyed. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the mission.

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  4. ceceliafutch says:

    I love this site! And on just about every vacation we visit a cemetary or two. I love how they photograph. I was a grief and bereavement counselor for years, and sometimes would visit cemetaries with clients. Great stuff.

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  6. hugmamma says:

    Thanks for liking my post re tombstone epitaphs, a challenge of WordPress’ Daily Post. You’ve a very unique blog and are obviously somewhat of an expert on the subject of cemeteries. Sometime ago I wrote a post about visiting California’s Forest Lawn Cemetery in the hopes of seeing Michael Jackson’s burial site. Of course I was only able to see the building, which was fine. But I was thrilled to sneak behind the chain that was suppose to keep tourists out, and get up close to the vaults in which the bodies of Clark Gable and Carol Lombard rested, as well as other Golden Age celebrities’ remains lay. It may sound morbid, but I was thrilled!

    keep up the good work…hugmamma. :)

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    • Loren Rhoads says:

      I haven’t been back to Forest Lawn since Michael was buried, but I was really disappointed that his grave is off-limits. I can’t believe he would want people not to be able to visit.

      Thanks for sharing your memories!

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  7. Hi Loren, Are you familiar with my books, Ghosts In The Cemetery and Ghosts In The Cemetery II, Farther Afield or my website with photos from my books – http://www.wordcraft.net ? If not, please check them out. I travel around the World shooting cemeteries. My next book (just finishing it up) covers California, Chile, Minnesota, Georgia, Boston, and other place. The books are full of large full color photographs. Stuart

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  8. Erik says:

    Loren, You are fabulous!!! Your lecture at Cypress Lawn was interesting, informative and ingenious!!!! I learned a lot about history and other facts about cemeteries, some I knew about but other info I did not. Hope there will be a part two next year!!!! Or sooner!!! Erik

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  9. Rosa says:

    While we haven’t been to any of those famous plceas, we do hit the cemeteries when we travel and actually when we lived in Savannah close to home. The Pioneer Cemetery and Bonaventure are just beautiful and fascinating. Here in Oregon there are lots of little town plots that tell the most wonderful stories too. I love the stonework and statuary too.

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  10. sutira says:

    Your passion for cemeteries intrigues me. Interesting work you have :)

    Like

  11. Jacky Walker says:

    Love your posts, Lauren. There is so much to learn! Please visit our historic San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery in Sylmar the next time you are in L.A. I’ll give you a tour. We are home of the upcoming Ghost Girls television show, and we are trying to preserve/restore this heavily vandalized graveyard and open it for educational tourism. One long-lost headstone stolen in the 1950s was returned to us recently, but we don’t know where “Emiley” belongs….so sad.

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  12. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Hi I got here via Jo Bryant and you have a fascinating blog. I also like to visit cemeteries and walk most days in my local one. Just wanted to share this one with you in case you haven’t been. http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/gallipoli-and-anzac-cove-in-remembrance/

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  13. Hi Loren – we recommend your blog here: http://conjamonspain.com/2013/10/17/cbbh-photo-challenge-pairs/

    Best regards – S and M, con jamon spain

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