The Harvard Shaker Cemetery

Thirty-five miles west of the Boston Common in the Town of Harvard, Massachusetts, is a cemetery established by the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as the Shakers. The settlement in Harvard, which was the second Shaker community in the colonies, was established in 1769. At its peak in the 1850s, the community had 200 members. By 1890, that number declined to 40.

The first burial in the cemetery occurred in 1792. By the time the cemetery was closed, over 300 members of the Shaker community were buried there.

The Harvard Shaker community purchased the land for the cemetery for $13.12. The men in the community set about building a stone wall around the cemetery, which was completed in November, 1799.

The cemetery is commonly known today as the “Lollipop Graveyard,” because of the cast-iron grave markers. Initially, graves were marked with stone markers. In 1879, the Harvard Shakers replaced the stone markers with the cast-iron lollipop markers.

The lollipop markers were designed by the brothers in the Mount Lebanon Shaker community at New Lebanon, New York, and cost about $1.50 to produce. The Harvard cemetery was the only Shaker Community to convert entirely to the metal markers and is the only Shaker cemetery where the metal markers remain.

The Harvard Shaker Village Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Additional information about Harvard Shaker Community and its burial grounds can be found here:

In Search of Snow

Cross country skiers and snowmobilers must be very disappointed this winter. The snow brought by the Christmas week blizzard disappeared almost as fast as it arrived. But this past Friday, just a couple hours north of our home, my wife and I found a winter wonderland. The snow was not deep, but the trees were flocked with snow. It was so beautiful, I returned on Saturday to see if I could capture the scene in some photos.

I left Grand Rapids early and arrived at Rosie’s Country Cafe in Thompsonville for breakfast and to await the sunrise. When the sun came up, I was disappointed. While some snow remained on the trees, it was nothing like the day before. Nonetheless, I continued on my way to the Betsie River Pathway. The Pathway has about ten miles of trails. I chose to hike the 2.7 mile West Loop, which passes through a meadow and forest reaching the Betsie River to the west. While it was nothing like I had hoped for, I found a few areas where the snow still clung to the grasses.

Still, there was much to see and enjoy on the hike. The footpath through the forest was carpeted with leaves.

Along the footpath, I took time to explore an ice-covered pond filled with colorful leaves.

After my hike, I headed north on County Road 677 to explore a campground I had found on the map. About two miles up the road, I came upon the snow globe we had seen the day before!

Along County Road 677 is the Weldon Township Cemetery. The cemetery always catches my attention, with its simple white crosses decorated with artificial flowers and American flags. I have stopped before, without success, to try to capture the feeling of reverence I get whenever I pass it. This time, I think I got it.