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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Two: Travel Incongruities > Vandalized Tombstone, Protestant Cemetery, Silver Reef, Utah, 2006
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Vandalized Tombstone, Protestant Cemetery, Silver Reef, Utah, 2006

Silver Reef, not far from Zion National Park, boomed from 1878 to 1882. In 1881 the world silver market dropped and by 1884 the town died. Only a handful remained, including James Huston, who died in 1889. He was seven years old. His tombstone in Silver Reef's Protestant Cemetery has been vandalized. What makes this image particularly incongruous is the vain attempt to make the shattered marble stone seem whole again by leaning the fragment against its pedestal. To me, the shattered stone represents a broken life, an appropriate symbol for the grave of a seven-year-old child. I organized the image on a diagonal so I could reveal the side as well as the front of the stone.

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Phil Douglis19-Jun-2007 15:29
It is hard to know how or why this stone was broken. My guess is that the vandals gave no thought to human dignity -- they were simply showing off or drunk or both. On the other hand, it could have cracked and toppled as the result of a freeze.
Alina19-Jun-2007 13:45
Whoever vandalized that grave had no heart or even brain. I’m sure it was “ice”
Phil Douglis27-Feb-2006 03:13
Hostility is a good word for this environment, Christine. You are right about kids dying young. Almost everyone died at a younger age in the 19th Century, but children were the first to die. A sad fact, and a sad image of a sad sight.
Guest 26-Feb-2006 23:14
I was struck by the hostile environment this tombstone is placed in. Your composition is very effective to show us what is written there.
It happens often when we visit the oldest sections of cemeteries that we find broken tombstones of children who died quite young. Contagious diseases were common in those days and medication to cure more "normal" diseases did not exist then
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