Monthly Archives: November 2009

Snapshots: The race car driver

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Crown Hill Cemetery

 

George L. Smyth was born 1899 in Nova Scotia. Smyth was an early race car driver from the 1920s to the early 1930s, handling a variety of cars that included a 1915 Stutz, a Begg and a McDowell 

On March 4, 1934 he participated in his last race, a fifteen mile race for AAA Pacific Coast Big Cars in California. 

The track became so overblown with dust, drivers had difficulty seeing the course. One car, slowed by engine problems, conked out in one of the turns. The raised dust was so effective in hiding the disabled car that by the time Swede drove into the turn, it was too late to swerve away from a collision. The impact caused Swede’s car to roll, causing fatal injuries to him and two others. 

Source: Motorsport Memorials 

Check out this car racing clip from the 1940s. How times have changed! 

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Stones & Bones stories: A long-lived life

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Fall City Snoqualmie Indian Cemetery

This is not a typo.

According to Jack’s History of Fall City, Grandma Moses, a Snoqualmie Indian elder, presents an intriguing surprise. A tribal councilwoman noted that: “We had many members who lived a long time. Although no one kept records, they marked their birthdays by notching a wooden stick.”

130 years.

Impossible, right?

Maybe not.

Unlike us, Grandma most likely spent her life in the fresh air, walking long distances and eating fresh food. She also drank the local water which has a high mineral content and is also known as “hard water”. Hard water typically contains calcium and magnesium, minerals all too lacking in today’s diet. With all these factors in her favor, who’s to say she couldn’t live to at least 130 years?

 

 

 

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Lending a helping hand

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Blog sized cross

Temporary repairs in Mount Si cemetery

Cemetery restoration projects typically fall on the shoulders of either a few volunteers or a local historical society. Access to public funds is challenging; securing reasonably priced preservation expertise, daunting. However, King County, Washington is looking to change this approach through a new program called, “Historic Graves and Cemeteries Preservation Initiative”.

The program is designed to:

• Raise awareness of the state of local cemeteries;

• Provide public information and outreach;

• Survey active, inactive, and abandoned cemeteries;

• Determine priorities for preservation and restoration.

Last year, Lauren McCroskey, Chair of the King County Landmarks Commission, formally introduced the Initiative. Here is an excerpt of her remarks. Continue reading

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Repairing the stones

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For those unable to attend any of the Stones & Bones presentations, a pdf link to the damage/repairs section of the talk is below. Anecdotal notes are in the tiny, comic-strip conversation balloons on the upper left hand corner of the slides. Move the mouse over the balloon to make them appear.

Stones & Bones pdf…Damage and repairs

 

And don’t forget to check back this coming weekend when the King County public works efforts for cemetery repair will be posted.

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Overcrowded cemeteries

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Highgate crowding

Highgate Cemetery

In London, gravesite sharing has become an uncomfortable-yet-necessary-to discuss option. The Guardian summed it up the best when it reported:

“So you think London, population 8 million, is crowded with the living? There are many millions more under the soil of a city that has been inhabited for 2,000 years. And London is rapidly running out of places to put them. Now the city’s largest cemetery is trying to persuade Londoners to share a grave with a stranger. “

Will it work?

Perhaps, but there are mixed feelings in addition to the illegality of grave re-use to overcome. However, re-use is legal if the grave is 75 years or older AND located in the City of London.

Read the full article here.

Some may just say this only bolsters the rationale for cremation but what if this is not an option?

In contrast to London, only one of the 71 cemeteries in Moscow remains open for burials. The Russian Orthodox Church does not allow for cremation, making the search for a plot space all the more challenging.

Lack of space has given rise to a funeral plot black market. Last month, the New York Times reported that:

“With the fall of the Soviet Union, the government deregulated and privatized much of the funeral business in Russia. This has led to an explosion of private funeral agencies. Funerary agents largely operate free of oversight, and can easily take advantage of grieving families desperately seeking a burial plot.

The number of agents, licensed and not, exceed the number of people who die daily in Moscow.

The agents are often in cahoots with the police and hospital staff members, who tip them off when someone dies — for a fee, of course. They have been known to show up at the deceased’s residence before the ambulance, pressing and cajoling grieving relatives.”

Read the full article here.

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