Monday, July 31, 2017

Urban Exploration Down Memorial Lane

From time to time my husband and I will wonder around looking for abandoned, forgotten structures to explore.  Last summer we came across a place of my dreams, a pet cemetery.  What intrigued me about this place the most was both humans and animals were buried there.  Like I said, a dream for me. This cemetery is not far from where we reside.  The house I grew up in was also a stone's throw from a pet cemetery.  This seems to be a pattern in my life.

Rosa Bonheur Memorial Park is a pet cemetery located in Elkridge, Maryland.  This cemetery was established in 1935 and operated until 2002 with approximately 8,000 animals and humans buried there (more animals than humans).

The cemetery is named for a French artist, Rosa Bonheur.  She was born in 1822, Bordeaux, France and passed away in 1899, Thomery, France.  She was known for her paintings of animals.

In 1979 the cemetery made national headlines when it became the first pet cemetery to allows humans to be buried beside their pets.  Along with humans being buried with their pets, there are famous animals buried there.

In 1991 there was a tomb for unknown pets placed in the cemetery.  In 2006 the cemetery stopped accepting pet and/or human burials.

As of today, the cemetery grounds are being maintained by local volunteers.

Here are just a few of the famous animals that are laid to rest at Rosa Bonheur Memorial Park:

*     Mary Ann (1922-1942), an elephant who resided at the Baltimore Zoo from 1925 until her death in 1942.  She was born in India in 1922.  Mary Ann was brought to Baltimore from India via United Railways.

*     Carlo (1939-1966), a dog who died at the age of 27.  According to his grave he is "one of the oldest authenticated dogs in the country".

*     Pretty Boy Boyer (1954-1956), a parakeet.  Pretty Boy had a vocabulary of  1,000 words.  His headstone has the following inscription; "Bye, Bye, Mommy.  See you later."  He always said this when his owner left the room.

*     Corporal Rex Ahlbin (1943-1946), a combat dog.  Rex served as a combat dog with the U.S. Marine Corps.  At the time of the Battle of Empress Bay at Bougainville Island, Rex alerted soldiers of the presence of Japanese soldiers. This gave the soldiers the opportunity to successfully avoid an attack.  Rex was promoted to the rank of corporal in 1944.

*     Gypsy Queen (D. 1936), a horse.  Sergeant Frank M. Heath, WWI Veteran, and Gypsy Queen travelled 11,356 miles across 48 States of the Union.  They started in Washington, D.C. on April 1st, 1925 and ended their journey at the same spot in Washington, D.C. on November 4th, 1927.  It's said that this is the longest trail ever covered by one horse under saddle.  Gypsy Queen died on October 29th, 1936.

** Stay tuned for my next blog which will feature another famous animal (not mentioned above) that is also buried at Rosa Bonheur Memorial Park.  Have a great day!

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