Best Of 2002

Best Proof of Our Brilliant Genetic Ancestry: Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemeteries

Grab the tracing paper, charcoal sticks and fixative spray and head out to the Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemeteries for some of the oldest and most ornate gravestones around. Founded in 1849, in the Walnut Park area of North St. Louis, Bellefontaine contains more than 300 acres of old tombstones, all waiting to be framed and hung on your wall. Its rolling acreage and tussled leafy trees are an inviting landscape for tombstone-rubbers. To its west lies Calvary Cemetery, an equally aged plot of 400 acres with tombstones of early city residents and luminaries. Together they are the most impressive Midwest address for the deceased. Residents include writer Tennessee Williams; Civil War leader William Tecumseh Sherman; Auguste Chouteau, co-founder of St. Louis; William S. Burroughs; and Adolphus Busch. But don't limit your rubbings to celebrity graves. Some of the most interesting designs can be found on small older stones.

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