Wednesday, September 4, 2013

C. E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery

One fine fall day in 1902, Kalispell founder Charles E. Conrad and his wife Alicia took a last horseback ride to a favorite  area and rested on the narrow overlook where the valley spread below. Charles told his wife there could be no lovelier place for his final rest. Charles died weeks later, but not before he sketched the mausoleum he wanted Alicia to build in the place he had chosen.

She carried out her husband’s wishes and had more than one hundred stone steps set into the steep cliff below, allowing private access to her husband’s gravesite. Alicia Conrad worked tirelessly to establish a community cemetery serving all people and all faiths as a memorial to her husband. She traveled extensively to find the right design. At her invitation, A. W. Hobert, superintendent of the famed Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota, visited the site and agreed there was none more beautiful. He designed the cemetery in 1903 as a classic Rural Garden Landscape. This concept in urban cemetery planning, first employed in Paris, France, and later in Boston, Massachusetts, offered a park-like setting for the enjoyment of nature as well as burial of loved ones.

A. W. Hobert's original design.
Alicia initiated a legislative bill, passed in 1905, establishing cemetery management and perpetual care. This cemetery became the prototype for perpetual care cemeteries in Montana. Today, 104 acres include more than 18,000 burials among winding driveways, sweeping lawns, and formal plantings that blend into the spectacular natural setting. Alicia Conrad laid the foundation for thoughtful management and careful stewardship. This unique cemetery welcomes all to enjoy its special features.

1 comment:

  1. This has to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries I have ever seen. One of the most endearing monuments is a beautiful series of carved stones where one can honor those who have past elsewhere. I didn't leave with a dry eye.