Slowly, she dissolves


The carved angel at the Kimball grave holds her contemplative pose as she is slowly dissolved by acid rain.

According to Jonathan Appell of New England Cemetery Services, acid rain is the fastest growing destructive force affecting cemeteries today; when left unchecked, acid rain can completely destroy a gravestone.

Poor angel:  her face is already gone.


Graceland Cemetery
Chicago, Illinois
photographed 4.16.2013

Posted on April 25, 2013, in Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Nice B&W. Very good details and texture.


  2. As a continuous cemetery visitor, I see this all the time and I always think that these monuments should withstand the elements better than they do, since that is one of the reasons why they’re put up in the first place. Your photos point this out but yet they still seem elegant at the same time.


    • From my observations, there seems to be some specific type of stone that is more prone to dissolving; at this particular monument, the columns (you can see them in the background of the second photo) and the steps all seemed to be in perfect condition – it was only the sculpture that was damaged. In another part of the same cemetery, there was a row of obelisks and one was heavily damaged but the other three were fine.

      Have you been to this cemetery, Graceland, in Chicago? It’s very interesting; a lot of people who played important roles in Chicago’s history are buried there.


      • No, I’ve never been to Graceland even though I was a frequent to Chicago years ago. I would like to spend a nice overcast afternoon at Mt. hope Cemetery here in Rochester. There are a few famous people buried there but it is more of a park like atmosphere than most cemeteries (you can book a wedding ceremony there).


      • When I was in grad school (for urban planning) one of our professors talked about how in the days before cities realized that parks and open spaces were important components for what we now call “livable cities”, people would go to cemeteries for picnics and other outdoor recreation. With so many cash-strapped cities now, maybe we’re headed that way again….


  3. awildkristenappeared

    Hey! I recently discovered your blog and have really liked your posts, especially loving the cemetery photography. I’m a sucker for black and white!
    Anyway, I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award on my blog, and if you have any time, check it out!


    • Kristen – I am glad you’ve found my blog, and liked what you saw. As you can tell, I am also a big fan of black and white, but every now and then a color shot will find its way onto the blog.

      Thanks for the nomination, too. It’s hard to imagine a time when “too many followers” would be a disqualification for something, but my blog doesn’t really fit the criteria for the award. I do appreciate your thinking enough of what I am doing to nominate me, though!



  4. Nice. I kind of like the slow dissolve. It seems a bit self important to want one’s passing marked for eternity.
    I wonder if this stuff is limestone? That would dissolve away in a particular hurry in acid rain.


    • This cemetery was chock full o’ self-important dead people! Coming up this weekend: a photo of a serpent on an pyramid-shaped mausoleum.

      And, had I paid attention to that one semester of geology back in college, I might be able to answer your question.


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