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Best Cemetery St. Louis 2004 - Oak Grove Cemetery

Oak Grove Cemetery

Oak Grove Cemetery

7800 St. Charles Rock Road

St Louis, MO 63114

314-721-7260

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For sheer spookiness, few local graveyards can rival Oak Grove. The cemetery boasts 65 hilly acres, several of whose tombs are the final resting places of famous forefathers, including Henry Kiel (1871-1942), who served as mayor of St. Louis from 1913-25; and Henry Caulfield (1873-1966), who was governor of Missouri from 1929-33. But the true gems of Oak Grove lie in its massive mausoleum and eerily quaint chapel. The mausoleum, visible from Hanley Road, stretches for nearly 200 yards, with virtually every square foot within crammed with the remains of dead St. Louisans. Further inside the cemetery lies the funeral chapel with its Gothic stone architecture and rusting metal cupola, looking for all the world like a stage set for a Hitchcock movie. Word of warning: Oak Grove is a fine place to visit, but you may not want to book an extended stay. Earlier this year the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors (yes, there is such a body) cited the cemetery for "improper storage of remains." But really, what does it matter how your remains are stored? You're dead already!

Best Ritual Should reparations be paid to the families of former slaves? Yes, but how and how much? And how would anyone go about calculating the damage? Whatever the answer may be, leaving coins on Dred Scott's grave serves as an eerie yet powerful reminder of the price of freedom.

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