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Mesa Cemetery | Cemetery History

mesa cemeteryA Mesa cemetery today is very different from our ancestor’s burial options. Prior to 1831, people buried their dead, but there were no established cemeteries. Churchyards of course, were the most common burial sites through the 1800’s in the United States – until overcrowding, growing expenses, and disasters like floods created a need for something better.

At Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery, our Mesa cemetery is based on the look of many U.S. cemeteries. Our first cemeteries took some cues from France in the way of design. While most are not as grand in style as the Père-Lachaise Cemetery, the use of pathways and gardens are seen in many American cemeteries. The Père-Lachaise was among Paris’ first established burial grounds. It was  known as the first of the “garden” cemeteries. Some examples of wonderful garden cemeteries across America, include Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemeteries in St. Louis and Graceland in Chicago. Today, they are deemed the showplaces of American cemetery artwork and design.

The first large rural cemeteries were places of recreation. While that’s something you wouldn’t see in a Mesa cemetery today, it was common in the 1800’s.  People in these areas did not have access to art museums and botanical gardens. The large, serene pieces of land full of beautiful sculptures and horticultural art marking the graves were a draw. They became a place for family picnics, hunting and carriage races.

Cemetery designs can also be influenced by regional characteristics. For example, the cemeteries in New Orleans consist of above-ground crypts and mausoleums. This is because the city is built on swamp land. Many of the tombs in these cemeteries are adorned with ornate sculptures and decorative artwork. Cemeteries in New Orleans are sometimes called “cities of the dead” because they resemble small villages.

Markers in the 19th-century cemeteries included imagery of weeping angels, weeping willows, little sleeping children sitting on top of headstones. These all gave death a kind of physical presence. Today’s markers in a U.S. or Mesa cemetery are often more subdued. Physical imagery is not as commonly used as before, although it can depend on the cemetery, religious practice or personal preference.

If you are looking for a Mesa cemetery, our staff at Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery is glad to answer any questions you have about your funeral needs. As well, we would be happy to give you a tour of our peaceful and serene Mesa cemetery grounds. Contact us at 480-832-2850.

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