I recently became a Young Friend at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant at first. Discounts? Special events? Well, yes, but also much more than I expected. Not only do I have access to the amazing, world-class contemporary art but also exclusive, curated programming, including events like a Mater Guided walking tour through historic Bellefontaine Cemetery. I was thrilled when I found out about the tour and immediately plugged it into my Google Calendar.
Having mentally prepared for arctic temperatures for an outdoor tour in the middle of November, I was pleasantly surprised that it was 70 degrees and sunny out the day of. Armed with a camera and crystals, we made our way through the 314 acre cemetery, hitting up all the architecturally and historically significant plots. I was so unaware of all the St. Louis movers and shakers buried within the grounds, like James Eads, David Francis, Major Albert Lambert, Adolphus Busch and William Clark. Notable women include Virginia Minor and Sarah Teasdale. Notable architecture by Louis Sullivan, mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, can be seen at the Wainwright Tomb and is said to be a mix of both Sullivan and Wright’s work. Free guided tours are available, visit here for more details.
Our master guide, Tom Allen, mentioned that during the Victorian Age, cemeteries were more like parks, where families visited their loved ones passed, packed picnics and enjoyed the scenery and camaraderie. Bellefontaine Cemetary is more like a park than a cemetery and I think we should bring back the Victorian traditions and hang out in such places more often. Bellefontaine Cemetery one of the best parks in St. Louis. Picnic anyone?