Two identical obelisks side by side suggest that the families were related, or associated in some other way. The Berg obelisk probably dates from the late nineteenth century; perhaps 1886, when the cemetery opened, since the oldest Berg stone here is from 1876, which means that it would have been moved from the cemetery’s previous location in Troy Hill. The Etzel obelisk was probably put up at the same time, though Father Pitt was unable to find any individual Etzel stones as old as the obelisk obviously is. The style of these obelisks is restrained, with simple bases enlivened by classical foliage ornament.
Berg and Etzel Obelisks, Smithfield East End Cemetery
Berg Obelisk, Smithfield East End Cemetery
The basic shape of the obelisk is set, so to speak, in stone; but the base and the material allow for quite a bit of variation. A well-chosen material like this makes the Berg family’s obelisk stand out in a forest of obelisks, guiding Bergs to the family plot across the wide landscape of the cemetery.