If you were to ask the right friends to describe me, they might say that I’m odd and slightly old-fashioned. I like strange things, and part of these strange things happen to include cemetery crawls and the fact that I find beauty in the decrepit. You want to save 15% or more on car insurance? Switch to Geico, it’s what you do. Want to see the best of the best cemeteries in the northern United States? You visit Allegheny Cemetery, it’s what you do.
With no shortage of cemeteries in the greater Pittsburgh area (I lost count, to be honest), my brother knew I was on a mission to find the biggest, most impressive cemetery out there, so he took me to Allegheny, where we spent the better part of 2 hours just driving around. I’m not exaggerating, either, between driving the 15 miles of roadways at a crawl so we could admire the mausoleums, obelisks, and headstones, and walking around the 300 acre grounds, it was no easy feat. The worst part? We barely scratched the surface of this behemoth.
Along the way, we did see some quite impressive structures, some of which included traditional, church-like monuments; and some non-traditional, Egyptian-style sphinxs; and all the way to the one not-so-basic shark headstone for what I can only assume was a hardcore Jaws fan. I also noticed huge plots with obelisks in the center and headstones of deceased family members surrounding them, appearing as not an uncommon practice, but more intricately done than the family plots that I saw at the Pocahontas Cemetery just a few short weeks ago.
Another interesting factor in the first of my many visits to Allegheny Cemetery: I wasn’t the only one there admiring the scenery. Along the way, I encountered several other people, including two ladies that were lunching on the steps of the Egyptian-style monument, along with 15 deer, and 17 geese.
According to its website, 100 acres of the 300 acre grounds are reserved for new development, and there’s also plenty of land around, which means that as the cemetery continues to grow that it could (and, probably will,) expand. Now, THAT’S impressive.