To say that the Davis memorial in Mount Hope Cemetery is off the beaten path doesn’t quite do its location justice.
Hiawatha, Kansas is in the heart of America’s farm country. Gorgeous, but remote.
John and Sarah Davis’s strange memorial was worth the drive. I’ve never seen anything like it. Thirteen marble statues plus urns, marble walls and roof depict every stage of the couple’s fifty year marriage.
John commissioned the work in 1930 when Sarah died. Sculptors in Carrara, Italy carved the stones until 1940.
According to legend, the townsfolk were pretty miffed that John would spend that kind of money, nearly all his family fortune, when times were so hard. 1930 was the middle of the Great Depression, but he had a point to make.
The story makes sense. There’s waaaaay too much marble squashed onto one little burial plot. It looks like John kept trying to find more ways to spend away his money. That marble roof must weigh 50 tons! And it’s a b*#!@ to photograph! Somebody with a better camera than mine needs to make the trek to Hiawatha and do this monument justice.
To me, the site ends up being not only a monument to a man who loved his wife, but to human foibles as well.