For an uplifting walk in a park, find a cemetery

Capital News Service
LANSING – The idea of graveyard as park, with landscaping designed to aid contemplation and to encourage the illusion that the visitor had left the regular world behind, is a surprisingly modern one. In fact, in this country it goes back only to the 1830s, says Thomas Dilley, author of “The Art of Memory: Historic Cemeteries of Grand Rapids, Michigan,” a new book published by Wayne State University Press ($39.99). Before the 1830s, graves were in or near churches, clustered in tight places. But then, as churches ran out of room, cities dedicated large empty tracts, either within the city or just outside, as burial places. The vacant space had to be structured for the dead and the living who came to bury and visit them.