Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mountain Grove

You may have driven past this gate, in Bridgeport just over the Fairfield line, and wondered what was inside.

Or may have known it was Mountain Grove Cemetery, but never bothered to go in. Because if you're not one of those cemetery people, what could be that interesting about a cemetery?

You really need to go in.

This place is seriously odd. And beautiful - peaceful and sprawling and grand, with trees and hills and little narrow lanes. But mainly just deeply odd.

P.T. Barnum is buried here, but more to the point he designed the place. It looks like what you would expect, once you that; it's a highly entertaining cemetery. Parts of it almost border on the sensational. It was built in the mid 1800s, so there's no sombre, Puritan, New England restraint like in older Connecticut graveyards.

This little fairy tale castle tomb is merely the tip of the outlandish burial iceberg. How can I explain how unexpectedly strange this place is? How about: at one point, while I was driving through, a Ke$ha song came on the radio. And it didn't occur to me for several minutes that that might be a just a little incongruous.

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