The Oxford Dictionary defines the word obelisk, from the Greek obeliskos, as a tapering stone pillar, typically having a square or rectangular cross section, set up as a monument or landmark. The obelisk is, to quote McDowell and Meyer in The Revival Styles in American Memorial Art, one of the "most pervasive of all the revival forms" of cemetery art. The Association for Gravestone Studies goes on to say: There is hardly a cemetery founded in the 1840s and 50s without some form of Egyptian influence in the public buildings, gates, tomb art, etc. Napoleon's 1798-99 Egyptian campaigns, the discoveries at the tombs of the Pharaohs, and our new Republic's need to borrow the best of the ancient cultures (Greek revival, classic revival, the prominence of classical studies and dress, etc.) led to a resurgence of interest in the ancient Egyptian culture. Obelisks were considered to be tasteful, with pure uplifting lines, associated with ancient greatness, patriotic, able to be used in relatively small spaces, and, perhaps most importantly, obelisks were less costly than large and elaborate sculpted monuments. East Cemetery in Williston has several.

Feature Story

Richard Welch

The Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military History of Rutland County Vermont, published in 1882 by The White River Paper Co., relates this story in its history of Brandon: In our village churchyard stands, or rather has stood until within a few days past, a plain marble slab bearing the following inscription:

Over the body of
during five years
a soldier under
in the
and during all his life
This stone is erected by his friends.
He was born in Ireland
Died in Brandon, Vt.,

On the 22d of August the sons of the deceased, had the remains removed... Read on...

Rutland Historical Society

The Rutland Historical Society was founded in 1969 to serve the original town of Rutland which includes the present towns of Proctor, Rutland Town, West Rutland and the City of Rutland.

The Society collects, preserves, and shares all manner of materials. This includes books, manuscripts, photographs, textiles, and special collections. For example, there is an extensive collection of Rutland newspapers including the Rutland Herald, municipal court records, cemetery records and much more.

The Society has nearly 600 members from 32 states. The activities of the Society are accomplished through the work of dedicated volunteers. The Society welcomes all gifts of items, collections of historical significance, bequests, or donations, so that it may continue to preserve the past and enrich future generations. Your participation is welcomed through volunteer work, membership, or donations. You are encouraged to visit the Society at 96 Center Street to do some research, or view the changing exhibits. Please visit our website.

David Sawyer Photo