June 13, 2024
Montpelier, US 72 F

Haunted Vermont, Folklore & much more…

Discovering the Artistic Treasures and Serene Beauty of Green Mount Cemetery

Green Mount Cemetery Montpelier Vermont

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of Montpelier, Vermont, Green Mount Cemetery stands as a testament to the harmonious blend of natural beauty and exquisite funerary art. Established in 1854, this picturesque burial ground has captivated visitors for over a century and a half with its tranquil atmosphere and impressive displays of craftsmanship.

As one of the earliest examples of the rural garden cemetery movement, Green Mount Cemetery embodies the concept of creating a park-like setting for eternal rest. The meticulously landscaped grounds span 35 acres, with 2.5 miles of gently curving roads winding through terraced lawns, stately shade trees, and ornamental shrubs. This thoughtful design creates a serene and inviting environment for those who come to pay their respects or simply seek a moment of quiet reflection.

A Collection of Funerary Art and Sculpture

Beyond its natural allure, Green Mount Cemetery is renowned for its exceptional collection of funerary art and sculpture. The grounds serve as an open-air gallery, showcasing the talents of local artisans from both past and present. One of the most striking examples is the William Stowell tomb, an ornate and imposing structure that exemplifies the skill and creativity of the area's craftsmen. The tomb features an intricately hand-carved set of stairs cut into a single granite ledge, crowned by a roughly hewn throne atop a dead tree stump.

Like Hope Cemetery just a few miles away in Barre, Vermont you will find Green Mount Cemetery to be a serene, beautiful place for contemplation and reflection upon life and what people leave behind. It truly is a remarkable place and both cemeteries are well worth a visit.

Poignant Memorials

Another poignant memorial is the life-size statue of a young girl, Margaret Pitkin, who passed away in 1900 at the tender age of seven. The sculpture, commissioned by her parents from a photograph, leans against a flower-carved rail. The story behind the piece adds to its emotional impact: upon seeing the finished work, the parents noticed a missing button on the girl's shoe, only to discover that the same detail was absent in the original photograph.

The cemetery also pays tribute to the sacrifices of military veterans with its dedicated Soldiers' Lot. This section features grave markers provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, ensuring that the memory of those who served their country is honored and preserved.

Among the many other notable gravesites is the John Hubbard grave, marked by a bronze statue of a seated, shrouded figure consumed by grief. Sculpted by Karl Bitter, this powerful memorial commemorates a local philanthropist who passed away in 1899. Equally compelling is the Frederic Dieter grave, topped by a life-sized statue of a deceased Jesus, his hollow eyes and protruding ribs a startling reminder of the suffering endured.

In addition to these individual memorials, Green Mount Cemetery boasts the historic Chapel-Vault building, erected in 1905 thanks to a generous bequest. This structure can accommodate up to 60 people for funeral services and features a vault with a capacity for 60 entombments.

What is the Legend Around the “Black Agnes” Monument?

The “Black Agnes” monument at Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier, Vermont is actually a funerary sculpture depicting Thanatos, the Greek personification of death. It was commissioned by John Erastus Hubbard to mark his gravesite.

Black Agnes Curse Vermont legend
Dude looks like a lady. “Black Agnes” is really a man!

The bronze statue was created by Austrian sculptor Karl Bitter in the late 19th century. It depicts a shrouded, seated figure with eyes closed and head tilted upwards, meant to represent Thanatos or death personified. Despite being nicknamed “Black Agnes”, the statue does not depict a woman named Agnes. The name likely arose from local folklore and legends surrounding the eerie monument.

An inscription on the back wall quotes lines from the poem “Thanatopsis” about approaching death “like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.” John Hubbard, for whom the statue was created, was a controversial businessman who inherited a large sum intended for the city of Montpelier. This led to him being viewed as greedy by locals.

The Black Agnes Curse

Legends emerged that anyone sitting on the statue's lap at midnight during a full moon would die within a week, along with seven friends. This “curse” likely arose from Hubbard's negative reputation. While just a local legend, the haunting aesthetic of the Thanatos statue has made “Black Agnes” one of the cemetery's most famous and eerie monuments

So in summary, the “Black Agnes” statue depicts death personified and marks the grave of an unpopular businessman, leading to persistent folklore about its supposedly cursed nature.

Conclusion

A visit to Green Mount Cemetery offers a unique opportunity to explore the intersection of nature, art, and remembrance. As you wander the winding paths and take in the exquisite craftsmanship of the memorials, you'll find yourself immersed in a landscape that celebrates life while honoring the departed. This historic rural garden cemetery stands as a testament to the enduring power of beauty and the human spirit, inviting visitors to find solace, inspiration, and a deep appreciation for the artistry that abounds within its gates.

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