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People & Places

Best Cemetery 

Bellefontaine Cemetery

This necropolis, established in the mid-nineteenth century following a devastating cholera epidemic, wins top honors not only because of its diverse, A-list population but also because it is as good a guide to this city's social history as exists anywhere. One could argue that a big chunk of the region's deceased is missing — namely Roman Catholics, buried across the road in Calvary Cemetery and in other less prepossessing graveyards, and Jews, who are interred in the famous cemeteries of University City and at New Mount Sinai in Affton. Nevertheless, because Bellefontaine is home to the remains of once-breathing monuments such as William Clark, Sara Teasdale, Adolphus Busch, James B. Eads and Irma Rombauer, and to architectural monuments such as the Wainwright and Busch mausoleums, it offers important clues to civic and cultural relationships in often startling ways. The Busch tomb, which proclaims in Latin that its occupant Came, Saw and Conquered, is segregated noticeably from the Browns and the Bixbys and even the Lemps. Besides its indelible contract with history, Bellefontaine is a paradox. For as much as being a city of the dead, its grace, beauty and peace provide a rolling, arboreal garden of restoration for the living.

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