Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cemeteries are outdoor museums that tell us about how people thought of death and remembrance over time. For this series on the blog I plan to travel or recount site visits to cemeteries in the northeast region of Florida. I hope the images will inspire you to go visit and learn more about local communities.
One way FPAN gets involved with historic cemeteries is promoting awareness of these unique cultural resources. Last year we partnered with St. Johns County Historical Resources Specialist Robin Moore and graphic designer Jody Marcil to create the Written in Stone poster.

The poster features 10 local cemeteries with brief history and highlights for the heritage aware visitor, including:

· Sons of Israel Congregation Cemetery- organized in the late 19th century. Stone reminders on the graves show that someone has visited, and although dead, they continue to have an impact on the living.
· San Sebastian Cemetery- established in the late 19th century with the oldest known stone dating to 1879. Here shells mark graves and communicate a return to the sea in ancestral African burial customs.
· Huguenot Cemetery- established in 1821 for victims of yellow fever. The only two coquina crosses in Florida (and perhaps the world) are found as markers in this cemetery.

The poster was unveiled this summer by County Commissioner Cyndi Stevenson at the T'Omb It May Concern conference along with two bookmarks. Both posters and bookmarks are free and distributed through public libraries and outreach events. For copies of the poster or bookmarks, contact me or drop by FPAN’s northeast regional center in St. Augustine. Photos in this entry are credited to Jody Marcil.

Have a favorite cemetery? Drop us a comment! If its in northeast Florida, we’ll be sure to check it out!

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