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The Old Burying Ground: 1906

The Old Burying Ground: 1906

Salem, Massachusetts, circa 1906. "Old Charter Street burying ground." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Grave situation.

There are a number of such structures in the older sections of the cemetery where our family plot is; some of them are crumbling. One day I stopped in the office and asked shouldn't they be repaired, and was told that they didn't contain the body, they were put there because in the days before vaults it was common for the ground to sink after the wooden coffin decayed. He didn't say so, but I also thought it might be to deter grave robbers.

The star-shaped flag holder looks like the bronze ones from the American Legion I remember as a child in the late 50s and early 60s. There was one on my grandfather's grave. There were hundreds, if not thousands, in the cemetery, on graves of veterans. On Memorial Day, volunteers would place the small flags like the tattered one in the photo.


Are the five structures in the foreground some kind of burial vault as I'm assuming the taller ones in the background are? Don't seem quite long enough unless they are for children.

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