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vvcarpio Jun 7, 2011 11:29 PM

Cemetery at Grey Towers in Milford, PA
Laurel Hill Cemetery is part of the Grey Towers National Historic site in Milford, PA. We’ve been to Grey Towers before but didn’t know about the cemetery. We have taken pictures of other cemeteries before, too, so when we saw the sign to Laurel Hill on our way out after taking pictures at Grey Towers, I thought it would just be another cemetery.

But when I followed the path for a quick look and saw the tombstones in disarray -- many toppled and broken with grasses overgrown and fern all around with no clear path on which a visitor may tread -- I realized how wrong I was. This wasn’t just another cemetery. It was a cemetery that was kept the way it was when it was abandoned in 1899 -- unkempt -- which gave it an otherworldly look.

The sign at the entrance even says, “Pedestrians Welcome -- Dawn to Dusk”. Which to me is like posting the speed limit at 65mph so everyone can go at 75. It’s daring me to come before dawn or come after dusk when it’s completely dark.

One early morning or one late night, being that I am apt to oblige whenever the nocturnal beckons, I just might.

#1) Laurel Hill Cemetery.

#2) "Bed-board shaped" gravestones were used to signify that the dead were merely sleeping. Translation: The next time you wake up, look up. You just might see a gravestone.

#3) The cemetery “contains 112 monuments, ranging from undressed fieldstone markers for paupers’ graves to more elaborate obelisks and carved markers.” (source: U.S. Forest Service website) Translation: Even among the dead, status quo rules.

#4) Grey Towers. Many visitors have asked if Grey Towers is haunted that the U.S. Forest Service decided to put it on its website. It says, “There have been no documented sightings of ghosts, though some claim to have ’felt’ a presence. It depends on your personal interpretation.” Translation: It is.

#5) If you think the cemetery is fake, it's not. Evidence is this bone my wife found. My wife took this picture.

Thank you for looking. C&C welcome.

lomitamike Jun 8, 2011 12:54 AM

Excellent series with great processing.

paniolo Jun 8, 2011 5:01 AM

Agree with lomitamike - dark (HDR) processing gives me the creeps.

DSProtection Jun 8, 2011 8:03 AM

Really cool, creepy feeling pics.

Best regards/Daniel

banksy Jun 8, 2011 9:14 AM

Spooky for sure. You have captured the mood. What a pity it can't be maintained in a respectful state :(

vvcarpio Jun 8, 2011 11:33 AM

Thank you, lomitamike, paniolo, Daniel, banksy.

banksy, oops I may have given the wrong impression. The cemetery is very well maintained since it was donated by the Pinchot family to the U.S. Forest Service in 1963. Initially, the Forest Service thought it best to leave the fallen trees (which damaged the tombstones) but later decided to remove them because they posed as hazard to both visitors and tombstones. The cemetery is fenced and the gate is unlocked but you are reminded to keep the gate latched when going in to prevent deer from following you.

The whole Grey Towers historic site has a very generous visitor policy IMO. It's free to roam around the vast landscaped park and take pictures. Whereas the NYPL in NYC is great for practicing indoor shooting, Grey Towers would be perfect for landscapes. There's even a cemetery to boot.

To go indoor on the tour costs only $8 -- a steal. I didn't bring a tripod indoor (last year) but I used a gorillapod and the rangers didn't seem to mind. The rangers were very warm, knowledgeable, and friendly. About the only other place I've been to with as friendly a staff was Disneyworld. I'm in love with the place.

#6) According to the cemetery's leaflet, “Depressions develop over time when the wooden coffins deteriorate and collapse.” (source: U.S. Forest Service website) Translation: Watch your step.

#7) The sign says, "Pedestrians Welcome (Dawn to Dusk)". Translation: There is no set time. But it’s best to come after dawn and leave before dusk. Outside that, consider yourself warned.

umdaman1 Jun 8, 2011 5:34 PM

Very nice images. Your post processing is spot on for the scenes depicted in your photographs. Great job as always.

banksy Jun 8, 2011 10:10 PM

Thanks for the update vvcarpio. I'm glad the Forest Service is preserving the site.

vvcarpio Jun 9, 2011 2:03 PM

Thanks, umdaman1. You're welcome, banksy.


emptyquiver Jun 18, 2011 5:20 AM

Very good series, I came across a simular site here in upstate N.Y. A remote and forgotten area with stones in disaray crowded out by trees and brush. Many sunken areas that made it a hazard to walk around too much. The site was surrounded by a field stone fence that had for the most part collapsed long ago. Shot some photos but it gave me creeps so I deleted them. Funny that way I suppose. I guess in the end all is forgotten.

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