Hope Cemetery

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Hope Cemetery
CountryUnited States
Size65 acres (26 ha)
Hope Cemetery

Hope Cemetery is a rural cemetery[1] in Barre, Vermont. The city calls itself the "Granite Capital of the World", and the cemetery is known for the superb granite craftsmanship on its memorials and tombstones. Barre is also home to the world's largest "deep hole" granite quarry, the Rock of Ages quarry, also known as the "E. L. Smith Quarry".


Hope Cemetery was established in 1895, and then consisted of 53 acres. It was designed and planned by the renowned landscape architect Edward P. Adams.[2] By 1895, skilled artisans from around the world, especially Italy, had been flocking to Barre to become a part of the booming granite industry. One of the main uses of granite throughout the country was in tombstones and memorials. It is estimated that one-third of all memorials in the United States came from Barre.[citation needed]

Silicosis, a respiratory disease caused by granite dust, was common among the artisans and sculptors who were breathing it in every day, which led to an abnormally high death rate. In addition, the 1918–1919 Spanish flu epidemic caused many additional deaths, adding to the need for tombstones.[2] Knowing that death was imminent and possibly around the corner, many sculptors were given to designing their own tombstones to showcase their skill. It is estimated that 75% of the tombstones were designed by the occupants of the graves.[3]


Hope Cemetery has since grown in size to 65 acres (26 ha),[4] and there are more than 10,000 tombstones and memorials located inside. All of its stones are made from "Barre Grey" granite.[5] The cemetery is a common tourist destination, and has been referred to as a "'Museum' of granite sculpture,"[6] the "Uffizi of Necropolises", by Vermont folklorist Joseph A. Citro,[7] a "Gallery of granite artistry,"[8] a "sculpture garden"[8] and a "Huge outdoor museum."[9] Guided tours are available for a small fee,[10] but driving or walking through the cemetery to look at the sculptures and memorials is common practice and encouraged.

It is still possible for ornate and unusual tombstones to be put into Hope Cemetery. These large memorials can range in cost from US$20,000–30,000+. Simple headstones cost about $2,000.[11]

Hope is the largest [12] of three cemeteries managed by the city of Barre.[13] It was featured in a story run by the Associated Press,[14] and was also featured in a segment in National Geographic on cities and towns in America.[13] Additionally, the cemetery was among those profiled in the 2005 PBS documentary A Cemetery Special.

Artist Frank Gaylord (1925–2018), who created "The Column" of soldiers statues at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is buried at Hope.[15]



  1. ^ Linden, Blanche M.G. (2007). Silent City on a Hill: Picturesque Landscapes of Memory and Boston's Mount Auburn Cemetery. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press. p. 295. ISBN 978-1-55849-571-5. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Hope cemetery Guide". Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce. 2002. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007.
  3. ^ "TheSpec.com". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2007.
  4. ^ MSNBC.com[dead link]
  5. ^ "Granite Sculptures of Hope Cemetery". RoadSideAmerica.com. March 3, 2016. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  6. ^ "SuperPages.com". Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2007.
  7. ^ "WeirdUS.com". Archived from the original on August 2, 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2007.
  8. ^ a b Brosnahan, Tom. "Barre, Vermont Guide". New England Travel Planner.
  9. ^ BurlingtonFreePress.com[dead link]
  10. ^ Boston.com[dead link]
  11. ^ IHT.com[dead link]
  12. ^ "AM1220.com". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2007.
  13. ^ a b Zackowitz, Margaret G. (October 2003). "ZipUSA: 05641". National Geographic. Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2007.
  14. ^ "Dying art: At Vermont's Hope Cemetery, gravestones are showpieces". WHDH-TV. July 8, 2007. Archived from the original on July 11, 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2007.
  15. ^ "Frank Gaylord Obituary". Times Argus. April 3, 2018 – via Legacy.com.

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Coordinates: 44°12′40″N 72°29′59″W / 44.2111727°N 72.4997547°W / 44.2111727; -72.4997547