by Terry Thornton
Ginger of Alabama, friend and author, publishes the delightful Deep Fried Kudzu about all things Southern. And one of her series has been about grave shelters from across the region. Her most recent grave shelter photographs are in her post Castle, Catfish, and Okay a Couple more Graveshelters (click to read). When Ginger started her series about grave houses, we exchanged some emails and I've called her attention to a few local shelters in the Hill Country. And through this article, I hope to call attention to some more grave shelters --- shelters unlike any I've seen and interesting because they are protecting more recent graves.
Below is a photograph of four grave shelters at Pickle Cemetery in eastern Monroe County, Mississippi. Many of the grave shelters remembered from my youth were low and basically of this design --- but they had wooden shake shingles on the roof. These are the first I've seen with metal roofing materials --- and these are the first I've seen sheltering recent burials. The grave shelter on the extreme left protects a burial from 1991; the grave shelter second from right protects the oldest burial within this group, 1946.
Left click image for a larger view of grave shelters
Almost all of the family stories I've heard about grave shelters concerns an attempt to kept rain off a grave. These metal-covered shelters certainly fulfill that function --- a simple functional design that is esthetically pleasing. Perhaps the old time-honored Southern custom of grave shelters is making a comeback.
Photographs of grave shelters, Pickle Cemetery, Monroe County, Mississippi, April 7. 2010, by Terry Thornton, Fulton, Mississippi. Copyright © 2010. All Rights Reserved.