Westerly, Rhode Island boasted a sterling reputation for granite, particularly blue granite, in the nineteenth and early 20th century. A booming Italian population also supplied a good number of artisan stone carvers whose work still survives at area cemeteries and is worthy of the great cathedrals of Europe. These craftsmen excelled in carving a human form out of a massive hunk of granite so life-like that the long tresses of hair seem to undulate in the breeze, flower petals so delicate that one half expects to smell a fragrance, and features so detailed that the nails on fingers and toes must be touched to be believed. River Bend is full of the great granite monuments; imposing, massive, heroic works in stone which must have taken teams of oxen to drag up the gently rolling hills. There are some marble, a few sandstone and slate, and several zinc monuments on the grounds, but primarily granite rules supreme. A slide presentation of River Bend will be completed this week and will feature the amazing figural statues and symbols to be found there. River Bend is on Beach St. and overlooks the Pawcatuck river. Thanks to the brisk breezes and widely-spaced plantings, moss and lichen are not a problem for this cemetery. It is open every day until twilight to the public and is well worth the trip.
This week’s photos include a particularly beautiful seated figure surrounded by the hydrangeas so commonly seen by the seaside and the lady is holding the universal symbol of Time passing, the hour glass. The cherub is one of two identical cherubs, one on the ground, one on a pedestal which may be found in River Bend. This little angel is facing out to the river.