Four Graves for Harvey Milk

Earlier this month, I wrote a guest piece for The Cemetery Club for LGBT History Month about Harvey Milk.

Cemetery Club

To celebrate LGBT History month I’ve asked writers, historians an scientists to write about interesting queer people who now reside in our cemeteries and crematoriums.

To start us off, I’m thrilled to have a blog post from Loren Rhoads, author of ‘199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die‘ and ‘Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel‘. She blogs about graveyards as travel destinations at CemeteryTravel.com.

Visionary civil and human rights leader Harvey Milk was born on May 22, 1930 in Woodmere, New York.

Rhoads Milk stamp

His Lithuanian-immigrant grandfather owned Milk’s Dry Goods, which became the largest department store on Long Island, and sponsored the first local synagogue.

Although Harvey Milk knew he was gay in high school — where he sang in the opera and played football — he followed in his parents’ footsteps and joined the United States Navy in 1951. Milk served as…

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199 Cemetery links

Last year was great for getting the word out about traveling to cemeteries. I spoke to reporters from Time, Preservation magazine, Entertainment Weekly, the LA Times, Real Simple magazine, and many more. I was honored to talk to Callie Crosby for her Under the Radar bookclub on NPR and radio broadcasters from Ireland to Australia to my hometown of Flint, Michigan.

I’ve gathered all the links together, but this is one of my favorites:

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 10.03.41 AM

Articles & Interviews:

Rhoads_NYT Book Review_10_1_17 copyGuide to Graveside Tourism
New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/27/books/review/199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die.html

What Gets Remembered: How Visiting a Cemetery Can Teach you About History
Time magazine
http://time.com/4963379/cemeteries-history-rhoads/

Hurry to see a cemetery while you can still appreciate it, says author Loren Rhoads
Los Angeles Times
http://beta.latimes.com/books/la-et-jc-199-cemeteries-20171018-htmlstory.html

The Best Historic Cemeteries to Visit Around the World
The National Trust for Historic Preservation
https://savingplaces.org/stories/the-best-historic-cemeteries-to-visit-around-the-world#.WjarlVQ-f2Q

Books for Impassioned Travelers
Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-must-read-for-restless-fly-fishermenand-other-books-for-travelers-1509645620

A Kind of Serendipity: 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die
Funeral Zone
https://www.funeralzone.co.uk/blog/loren-rhoads-199-cemeteries-travel-book

Cemetery Travel: World’s Best Destinations
Blueprints for Living on ABC radio in Australia
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/cemetery-travel—10-of-the-worlds-best/8667452

Dark Tourism: Why Would You Want to Spend Your Holiday Visiting a Cemetery?
Blueprints for Living on ABC radio in Australia
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-06/tombstone-tourism-why-we-visit-cemeteries-on-holidays/8673454

In Search of Cemeteries Alive with Beauty, Art, and History
Atlas Obscura
https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/cemeteries-to-visit-before-you-die-monuments

“199 Cemeteries” A Lively Chronicle of Culture
San Francisco Chronicle
http://www.sfchronicle.com/travel/article/Travel-Books-199-Cemeteries-a-lively-12241291.php?cmpid=gsa-sfgate-result

Loren Rhoads suggests 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die: Life, Death, and Everything in Between
Narrative Species
https://narrativespecies.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/loren-rhoads-suggests-199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die-life-death-and-everything-in-between/

Just in Time for Halloween, Bay Area Cemeteries to See Before You Die
San Francisco magazine
https://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/just-time-halloween-the-bay-area-cemeteries-see-you-die

12 of the Most Beautiful Cemeteries Around the World
Mental Floss
http://mentalfloss.com/photos/504533/12-most-beautiful-cemeteries-around-world

These Connected Graves in the Netherlands Prove Love Conquers All
Mental Floss
http://mentalfloss.com/article/505109/these-connected-graves-netherlands-prove-love-conquers-all

10 Hauntingly Beautiful Cemeteries to Visit Before Halloween
Real Simple
https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/travel/beautiful-cemeteries-to-visit

Cemetery-book author takes readers to 199 of her favorites
San Diego Union Tribune
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/books/sd-et-author-rhoads-20171010-story.html

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die
Death & the Maiden
https://deadmaidens.com/2017/12/12/199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die/

11 Cemeteries That Are Hauntingly Beautiful
Popsugar
https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/World-Most-Beautiful-Cemeteries-44166497

A Guide to the World’s Most Intriguing Cemeteries
Hyperallergic
https://hyperallergic.com/403271/a-tombstone-explorers-guide-to-the-worlds-most-intriguing-cemeteries

10 Great Cemeteries to Visit Before You Die
USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/10greatplaces/2017/10/27/cemeteries/803205001/

Two of the “199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die” are in Utah
Salt Lake City Tribune
http://www.sltrib.com/artsliving/arts/2017/10/27/two-of-the-199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die-are-in-utah/

10 Cemeteries to See Before you Die
Funeral Zone
https://www.funeralzone.co.uk/blog/10-cemeteries-see-you-die

7 Amazing Cemeteries to Visit Before You Inhabit One (if You’re into That Sort of Thing)
Did You Know
http://didyouknowfacts.com/8-amazing-cemeteries-visit-inhabit-one-know-youre-sort-thing/

Cemeteries You must see before you die: Scotland to Japan, the world’s most haunted and beautiful burial sites revealed
Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-5150991/The-worlds-hauntingly-beautiful-burial-sites.html

Being Dead Sucks Even More than You Thought
Vice
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5gwwy/being-dead-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought

The London Dead review:
http://thelondondead.blogspot.com/2017/10/199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die.html

Two Books to Delight the Tombstone Tourist in You
Luna Luna
http://www.lunalunamagazine.com/dark/2-boos-to-delight-the-tombstone-tourist

IMG_8862Radio:

Callie Crosby’s Under the Radar book club
https://news.wgbh.org/2017/11/10/author-graveyard-aficionado-asks-whats-your-favorite-cemetery

Blueprints for Living on ABC radio in Australia
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/tombstone-tourism/8665726

Gary Shapiro’s From the Bookshelf (23 minutes in)
https://player.fm/series/gary-shapiros-from-the-bookshelf/guests-james-gleick-and-loren-rhodes

Agony Column (long version of Rick Kleffel’s podcast):
http://www.bookotron.com/agony/audio/2017/2017-interviews/loren_rhoads-2017.mp3

The Agony Column (short version):
http://www.bookotron.com/agony/audio/2017/2017-time_to_read/time_to_read_ep274_loren_rhoads.mp3
Broadcast 10/6: http://kbcz.org 90.1 FM Santa Cruz Community Radio

Finch Files Halloween episode
https://www.mixcloud.com/peter-finch2/finch-files-halloween-17-episode-94/

The Jim Bohannon Show

Horror Addicts #150: Cure for the Holidaze
https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/horroraddicts-net-150-cure-for-the-holidaze-special/

At some point during October, I was on the Entertainment Weekly Radio show on Sirius XM. I missed hearing it, so I don’t have the airdate.

I appeared (briefly!) on the Sean Moncrief Show on Newstalk.com, a national radio broadcast in Ireland on November 6, 2017.

My last radio interview for the year was live on the Michael J. Thorp Show on December 20th, 2017. It is part of the SuperTalk 1570 Cumulus channel and broadcast in Flint, Michigan on WWCK AM.

Booklists & Shopping Guides:

EW Screenshot 199Order of the Good Death Booklist
http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/resources/books#5

Cult of Weird’s Morbid Must-Reads for Fall
http://www.cultofweird.com/books/2017-fall-reading-list/

Cult of Weird Holiday Gift Guide
http://www.cultofweird.com/curiosities/2017-holiday-gift-guide/

Macabre Holiday Gift Guide 2017
https://boroughsofthedead.com/macabre-holiday-gift-guide-2017/

Macabre Non-Fiction Books for Darklings
http://www.thespookyvegan.com/2017/12/macabre-non-fiction-books-for-darklings.html

Weekly gift ideas from the Staff of Atlas Obscura
https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/weekly-wishlist-dice-fire-cemetery-flux-science-toy

14 Holiday Gift Book Ideas to Help You Finish off Your Christmas Shopping
https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900005765/14-holiday-gift-book-ideas-to-help-you-finish-off-your-christmas-shopping.html

My Articles:

5 Cemetery Road Trips for the Ultimate Taphophile
Mental Floss
http://mentalfloss.com/article/504942/5-cemetery-road-trips-ultimate-taphophile

Norton the First

Norton the First

Cemetery Sights: Norton, Emperor of the United States
Legacy.com
http://www.legacy.com/news/explore-history/article/cemetery-sights-norton-emperor-of-the-united-states

Did You Know There Are Travel Sites Dedicated to Visiting Cemeteries?
The Author Spot
https://staceyturner-authorspot.blogspot.com/2017/10/did-you-know-there-are-travel-sites.html

The Most Haunted Cemetery in the World
Horror Addicts
https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/guest-blog-the-most-haunted-cemetery-in-the-world-by-loren-rhoads/

Cemeteries and the Ghost of Marie Laveau
October Frights
http://afstewartblog.blogspot.ca/2017/10/octoberfrights-cemeteries-and-ghost-of.html

The Ultimate Romantic Cemetery
Emmy Z. Madrial’s blog
https://emmyzmadrigal.wordpress.com/2017/10/25/guest-blog-the-ultimate-romantic-cemetery-by-loren-rhoads/

American Vampires
Emz Box
https://emzbox.wordpress.com/2017/10/27/guest-blog-american-vampires-by-loren-rhoads/

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A Walk Through the Past

A Walk through the Past: San Jose's Oak Hill Memorial ParkA Walk through the Past: San Jose’s Oak Hill Memorial Park by Patricia Loomis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

California’s oldest secular cemetery is the pioneer burial ground of Northern California’s largest city. The huge cemetery is a lively place on a weekend, but has been heavily vandalized in the past. Buried here are George Donner, who was 10 when he survived the harrowing winter in the Sierras but went on to raise a family of his own. Also here is Mountain Charley, a mountain man who survived being mauled by a mama grizzly in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He lost an eye, but lived 30-some more years. More recently, George Merino, proclaimed king of the West Coast gypsies, was buried here in 1975.

This is the perfect cemetery guidebook. It has a map, short biographies of the permanent residents, photos of them, their graves, and often their property or other historical ephemera that illustrates their lives and contributions.

The only issue I have is that its organization is confusing. Rather than starting with the oldest graves in the pioneer section, that section comes last. I think the sections are arranged in order from closest to the gate on back to the fence, but it means you have to wait to get to the most interesting stories. That’s minor, though, considering how fascinating everything else is.

You can get your own copy of the book at Amazon.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

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Local Cemetery Travel

Rhoads SF NationalI haven’t updated this blog in much too long.  I ended up being much busier than I expected in October. It’s always my busiest month, but this year was nuts. At this point, I have an essay I need to turn in and a couple of podcasts I’ve trying to lock down for next year. Then the 199 Cemeteries promotion is done until 2018.

Of course, I am taking the National Novel Writing Challenge again, trying to finish a book (in my case, a nonfiction book) in the month of November.  I tend to get depressed when I finish a book — naturally, I think, after the excitement of getting something into print passes.   I decided the cure for moping over 199 Cemeteries was to dive straight into a new book.

In this case, it’s actually an old book idea, one that I’ve been toying with for more than 15 years. By the end of this month, I would like to finally have the first full draft of The Pioneer Cemeteries of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Obviously, this book will have a much smaller focus in geographic area than 199 Cemeteries, but I’m visiting and photographing each of these cemeteries myself: from Cloverdale in the north to Gilroy in the south.  I think there will be 80 cemeteries in the final book, although I expect there will be something closer to 100 in the first draft.  That’s not even all of the Bay Area cemeteries by any stretch (there are rumored to be 90 in Sonoma County alone), but it’s as many cemeteries as any sane person might be likely to visit.  It’s taken me twenty years to cover my first 100 local cemeteries and I’m not done yet.

The book will include some of the cemeteries I’ve written about for Cemetery Travel: Woodlawn, Lick Observatory, Mission Dolores, Mare Island, Hills of Eternity, the Stanford Mausoleum, etc. It will also have a bunch that I haven’t written about here but should: Tulocay (where Mary Ellen Pleasant is buried), Watsonville Pioneer (where transgender stage driver Charley Parkhurst rests), along with the final resting places of the survivors of the Donner Party, survivors of grizzly bear attacks, Forty Niners, Comstock silver barons, Native Americans, Portuguese fishermen, Mexican rancheros, and America’s first black millionaire.

It seems particularly important to finish this project now, since the firestorms this year threatened some of the historic cemeteries I want to include. I watched in horror last month as the town of Calistoga was evacuated, knowing that the emphasis would rightly be on saving homes and businesses from the flames, not on the fragile old cemetery that lies just outside of town.  As this writing, I haven’t heard if the Rural Cemetery in Santa Rosa survived the conflagration. Once that history is erased, whether by wildfire or earthquakes or vandalism, it won’t be replaced. Land is too valuable here.

I hope to get back to putting up a Cemetery of the Week every Wednesday soon.  I’d love to publish more Death’s Garden essays.  I’ll announce my 2018 speaking events as soon as I get them settled. I plan to organize some field trips to local cemeteries, for those who might like to join me. And I’ve got 20-some more cemeteries to research for this book.

There’s no rest for the morbid, baby.  I’ve got a lot of work to do.

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Win a Copy of Wish You Were Here

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Wish You Were Here by Loren Rhoads

Wish You Were Here

by Loren Rhoads

Giveaway ends October 23, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

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