Author: Father Pitt

  • Melling Obelisk, St. Peter’s Cemetery (Arlington)

    Melling obelisk

    Magdalen Melling died in 1909; Charles Melling died in 1919. This obelisk was probably put up when Magdalen died, or possibly before, since she was about 79 when she died (Charles died at about 93), and the Mellings might have ordered the obelisk in anticipation of the inevitable, as was common in those days. The monument is a standard pattern, but a tasteful one. There are four faces for inscriptions, none of them used; instead, Charles and Magdalen have headstones next to the obelisk.

    Note Charles Melling’s monogram on the obelisk.


    We also have an earlier picture of the Melling obelisk, showing the cross and anchor on the front.

  • Biller Monument, St. Peter’s Cemetery (Arlington)

    Statue on the Biller monument

    The edge of the cemetery is right up against a city alley, giving this romantically eroded monument a less-than-romantic location. Ludwig Biller died in 1903, and that is probably the date of this monument. “Marble” monuments like this one were out of fashion in the high-rent cemeteries by then, but they seem to have been produced much later for the ethnic cemeteries.

    Monument and alley
  • Columbarium, Union Dale Cemetery

    These pictures were taken in 2014, but for some reason old Pa Pitt never got around to publishing them until now. We have another article with more pictures and a detailed description of the Columbarium.

  • Pittsburg Steam Marble Works

    This advertisement from an 1844 city directory shows us what was happening in the monument business in the rapidly growing Western city of Pittsburgh or Pittburg (it was just about equally likely to be spelled either way). Beginning in the 1830s, local stonecutters were displaced by a mechanized monument industry that produced much more professional-looking work—unfortunately in limestone (“marble” to the trade), so that the inscriptions erode much more quickly than the old craftsmen’s work in yellow sandstone.

  • Kubler Monument, St. Michael’s Cemetery

    Kubler monument

    The Kubler monument is one of the most extravagant in this cemetery, and an interesting example of what must have been the most up-to-date modern design when it was installed in 1884.

    Frank J. Kubler and Cathrene Kubler

    Note the place of birth: “Lorraine, France.” This is doubtless a political statement, but Father Pitt does not know exactly what it states. In 1884 and 1891, the dates when these inscriptions were added, part of Lorraine belonged to Germany: it had been conquered in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and would remain German territory until 1918. We don’t know whether the Kublers came from that part or from the part that remained in France. They bear a German name, and they belonged to a German Catholic congregation where German was often spoken (St. Michael’s, in whose parish cemetery they ae buried), but they were eager to be identified as French.

    Mamie C. Kubler

    A young wife of Louis Kubler, presumably a son of Frank J. and Cathrene.

    Catherine E. Kubler

    A three-year-old granddaughter; her parents are not memorialized on this monument.