We picked up some "Passports" so we could get a Wilbear Wright aviation teddy bear... I mean, we were going to see the historical sites anyway, we might as well earn something out of it.
Where did we go?
A cemetery, for one.
You may think that's strange, and I admit it kind of is. But I find cemeteries to be interesting places. Almost anywhere you go in the world you can see how different countries and cultures treat their dead and how environments influence that. And the Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum is not your normal cemetery. I found it beautiful.
Let me start from our beginning. First you have to know that this place is still an active cemetery, over 200 acres, and though surrounded by the city you feel very secluded with all the trees and strong nature presence. We parked at the main center to check in and get our stamps. I was very serious with Will and Alanna before we even got out of the car that this was a "quiet place" and we have to be quiet. We had to be well-behaved - no running, no yelling, and they had to stay with me. There was no walking or climbing on the "rocks" (headstones) and we have to be careful walking on the pathways and in the grass. I was sure to remind them throughout our visit, and they both did amazing!
When we got into the visitor's center I was greeted by two very friendly people. They were quite smiley and welcoming and they were telling me how much they enjoyed visitors. William told them about the light bulb burned out and Alanna was being coy and cute. They asked me what graves we were looking for, gave us a map (with directions), and provided some helpful and insightful information. The Woodland Cemetery is a tourist attraction and I was very pleased with the personal interaction we received.
Back into the van we went to drive to the Wright Brothers' family plot. But as we started our drive I spotted Johnny Morehouse's headstone. He was a 5-year-old boy who died in 1860. He was playing near the river one day and fell in. The dog jumped in to rescue him and pulled him ashore, but it was too late, Johnny had drowned. Legend says that after Johnny was buried, the dog was found staying at his grave. Local people would bring the dog food and water and (according to rumor) the dog eventually died there and was buried with Johnny. Later this beautifully carved headstone was placed and people often decorate it and leave toys.
Orville and Wilbur Wright. It is a very large memorial for them. Wilbur died in 1912 from typhoid at age 45 and Orville lived on until 1948 when he died at age 76 after his second heart attack.
Since I had done a little bit of research before trekking out there I knew of a couple other graves I wanted to find so the kids and I took a stroll... I tried really hard to not get lost in that massive land of headstones.
Oh, something else... if you're a regular reader, you know Ryan and I are pretty big Doctor Who fans. Thanks to that show I am now a bit paranoid about stone angels. Every time I saw one I swear my heart would skip a beat and I found myself looking over my shoulder involuntarily.
Capt. Charles Goodwin Bickham. He fought in the Philippine-American War. I wasn't even aware of such a war until I read up on this guy.
|you can barely make out the carving on their monument|
After that, we headed down near the bottom of the cemetery and viewed the duck pond. There were Canadian geese nesting so we didn't actually get out, but we did see a turtle and some ducks.
We had a nice, peaceful trip to the cemetery... it was kind of weird explaining that I took my kids to a graveyard but it was a very interesting place and I actually want to go back.
I'll share about where we went later that day in my next post.