Necropolis of the Metropolis
by John Troesser
Avenue, West of downtown and East of Studewood
Glenwood Cemetery Office and Elgin Plot|
working on this issue’s Elgin article,
we decided to visit the gravesite of the town’s namesake, Robert Morris Elgin.
The Elgin Family Plot is located in Houston’s
Glenwood Cemetery, 2525 Washington Avenue. At one time this was Washington Road
and connected Houston proper
with Camp Logan, a WW I Army
training facility that is now Memorial Park. |
Upon entering the Cemetery,
Houstonians will immediately recognize many familiar names. Allen, Binz, Cummings,
Foley, and Settegast to name a few. Like the Elgin name, most have streets named
after them in varying degrees of magnitude and asphalt.
a final resting-place for Houston’s
former VIPs, Glenwood also contains the earthly remains of Dr. Anson Jones, the
last President of the Republic of Texas. Glenwood is also a showplace for late
19th and early 20th century funerary monuments.
We went to the office (a charming Victorian cottage
formally used as the caretaker’s residence) to see if they had a directory, and
they did. The Elgin plot seemed close, but the map wasn’t to scale. After a few
minutes of wading through squirrels, we were back just a headstone’s throw from
the door of the office. Although the surrounding grass was thin, inside the Elgin
space it grew as if fertilized. You might say, "the plot thickened",
then again, you might not want to say that.
|Ol’ Bob was a molding or a moldering, or
whatever John Brown’s body was doing in that old song. And he was doing it right
next to his daughter! She died in Saltillo, Mexico, and I suspect there
is an interesting story there. The Elgin Courier’s account of that would be in
storage, so it will take a more persistent or curious detective than yours truly
to write that saga. |
| || |
of the Angel in the Hill Family plot. |
TE Photo, May 2003
| The Old and the
obelisks (symbols of lives cut short), weeping
Angels and willows are nearly as abundant as squirrels, but executed several
degrees finer than you’ll find in most cemeteries. An art deco Diana and an elaborate
Egyptian motif plot add variety as the road winds and dips through this unintended
arboretum. The southern boundary surprises you with the sudden appearance of Memorial
Parkway, and off to the left at a distance is the abandoned Jefferson Davis hospital.
Once known as ‘the baby factory" because it was the County’s primary maternity
hospital, there is an irony that it would overlook the city’s pantheon. Eat your
vegetables, pick up your toys, make friends, marry well, vote, pay your taxes,
provide for your heirs and we’ll bury you across the street.
Weeping Angel in Glenwood Cemetery|
showing vandalism to the left arm.
TE photo, May 2003
– Live Oaks|
has many beautiful examples of Live Oak Trees, but one of the most beautiful specimens
is near the SE corner of Glenwood. The spread of the tree comes close to that
of the Goose
Island Oak in Rockport,
the Champion Live Oak in Texas. The branching pattern is "text book",
growing conditions are ideal and if your compost is as rich, then the police might
want to talk to you. Recently the tree has been cabled, which detracts from it’s
natural elegance, but it’s a precaution that is usually thought of too late.
|A Doctor with a
Heart of Stone|
famed heart surgeon and humanitarian, Dr. Denton Cooley was once photographed
in the Houston Medical Center standing beside a beautiful stylized heart sculpted
from exotic wood. A larger replica of this heart, carved from marble graces the
Cooley Family plot.
to the current care-taking provided by Glenwood Cemetery Inc. Glenwood was plagued
by vandals. A particularly destructive rampage left shattered an exquisite angel
that had stood over the grave of florist Leonard Tharp. Perhaps this was the incident
that caused the awareness of vulnerability and prompted the current protective
measures. The cemetery is open seven days, dawn to dusk.
|Book Hotel Here