Why Some Gravestones Are Shaped Like Tree Stum…

Why Some Gravestones Are Shaped Like Tree Stumps:

Tree-stump tombstones like these can be found in graveyards across the country. They tend to surprise people who come across them, since they’re not quite what we expect to see at the head of a grave. They date mostly to 1880s to 1920s, when funerary art in the United States was moving away from the grand mausoleums and obelisks found elsewhere in Green-Wood. The tree-stump stones were part of a movement to turn the focus of death back to life, and they’re a unique form connected with the secret societies of the time. “They qualify as folk art,” writes Susanne Ridlen, in her 1999 book Tree-Stump Tombstones.