I talked to my parents on the day of their 30th wedding anniversary and was rather surprised to hear that they were passing the day by strolling through Spring Grove Cemetery. Picking out eternity together -- that's morbidly cute. After getting over the incongruous, Goth-like pairing of a marriage anniversary and death, I realized that it's actually a fantastic place to enjoy nature in the springtime.
Established in 1845, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum is a stunningly beautiful exemplar of landscape and cemetery design, renowned for creating the landscape "lawn plan" concept.
In fact, just two weeks ago it was officially designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Interior Department.
In addition to the gorgeous flora and fauna, Spring Grove boasts a number of outstanding sculptural and architectural monuments as well. One of the more notable examples is the DEXTER MAUSOLEUM. Judging by its unmistakable similarity to Gothic-style European cathedrals, one might automatically assume it to be a chapel. This particular monument, however, is a private family mausoleum built in 1869 for German immigrant and "whisky baron" Edmund Dexter. Here's another fun fact: Spring Grove's Web site states that the mausoleum boasts the only two symmetrical buttresses in Cincinnati (for the non-art historians out there, buttresses are semi-arches that flank the sides of a building to reinforce thinner, load-bearing walls mainly comprised of soaring stained glass windows).
Coming upon this monument from the crunchy gravelly path, you really can't help but feel transported to the charming cathedral grounds of some rural Bavarian hamlet. Typical Gothic architecture is all about height and pointy-ness, and the Dexter Mausoleum certainly impresses this aspect upon the viewer. Towering over the peaceful goose-filled lagoon, it truly does seem like a picturesque way to spend eternity.
Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum is open every day from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
FOCAL POINT turns a critical lens on a singular work of art. Through Focal Point we slow down, reflect on one work and provide a longer look.