Locomotive

Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

PAPA

MAX SCHUSTER

BORN OCT. 12, 1850

DIED SEPT. 17, 1895

 

MOTHER

Louisa Bindeman Schuster

1853 – 1918

The rustic movement of the mid-nineteenth century was characterized by designs that were made to look like they were from the country. Elegant and slim curved lines in furniture gave way to bulkier and heavier forms made from pieces that came directly from the trees often with the bark still intact. Homes, cabins, and garden houses were designed in the rustic style eschewing classic designs. In decorative furniture this often took the form of chairs made from rough tree limbs curved to form arms and chair backs, chair legs made from tree roots growing upwards. In cabins, railings and the siding were made from unhewn logs with the bark still in place.

In funerary art, tombstones took on the look of tree stumps. The gravestones were purposefully designed to look like trees that had been cut and left in the cemetery to mark a grave. Most of these tree-stump tombstones were carved from limestone, which is easier to carve, though some are made from marble and even a few from granite. The creativity of the carvers were boundless. Thousands of tree-stump tombstones exist in nearly as many designs.  Stonecutters displayed a wide variety of design, including this tree-stump design with a sculpture of a locomotive carved into the side of the stump.  According to Silent City: A History of Forest Home Cemetery by John Gurda and published by the cemetery itself, the gravestone with the artful train engine is a nod the Max Schuster’s career as a rail road engineer.

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