Hope Cemetery is a cemetery in Barre, Vermont. The city calls itself the “Granite Capital of the World”, and the cemetery is known for the superb granite craftsmanship on its memorials and tombstones. Barre is also home to the world’s largest “deep hole” granite quarry, the Rock of Ages quarry, also known as the “E. L. Smith Quarry”.
Hope Cemetery was established in 1895, and then consisted of 53 acres. It was designed and planned by the renowned landscape architect Edward P. Adams.By 1895, skilled artisans from around the world, especially Italy, had been flocking to Barre to become a part of the booming granite industry. One of the main uses of granite throughout the country was in tombstones and memorials. It is estimated that one-third of all memorials in the United States came from Barre.
Silicosis, a respiratory disease caused by granite dust, was common among the artisans and sculptors who were breathing it in every day, which led to an abnormally high death rate. In addition, the 1918-19 Spanish flu epidemic caused many additional deaths, adding to the need for tombstones.Knowing that death was imminent and possibly around the corner, many sculptors were given to designing their own tombstones to showcase their skill. It is estimated that 75% of the tombstones were designed by the occupants of the graves.