Knocker on display


Mountain View Cemetery is a manicured showcase of the lower Oakland Hills. When Frederick Law Olmsted designed it he left the natural contours of the land, and to this day it’s the nearest thing to the original oak-dotted grasslands that the first visitors saw (although the abundant elk and grizzlies are long gone). And decades before the rock worshippers of the Gilded Age put their stamp on Berkeley’s hill neighborhoods, Mountain View left the knockers alone. There are outcrops of the wild variety up near the utility yard, a couple of chert boulders in charming neglect, and there is this splendid thing left in the middle of its own circle above the Henry Cogswell monument. I should put up shots of the rest of the cemetery’s knockers—I think I have them all.

5 Responses to “Knocker on display”

  1. Michael Says:

    Many of the docents at Mountain View Cemetery have been wondering if the rocks are natural or if they were placed there. I think that you’ve answered the question.

  2. Stafford Says:

    I’m a docent at Mtn View. I’ve been told by cemetery employees that the pictured knocker was placed there, although I don’t see how that could possibly be the case. I’ve always thought it was naturally occuring and the circle was placed around the knocker. Thanks for lending your wieght to the debate.
    If you are so inclined, it would be great if you could post more of your Mtn View knocker pictures. Thanks!

  3. Andrew Says:

    Well, I can see them winching the rock a few yards to line up the roads and plots, but they wouldn’t have carted it around just to decorate that spot. No other large rocks there are treated that way. But I might be wrong–there might be a couple of concrete pads under it. That could be tested by probing underneath with steel rods.

    Tell you what, I’ll set up a new tag for the cemetery knockers. Is there an online map of the cemetery, so I can give them proper addresses? Or should I just use GPS coordinates?

  4. Stafford Says:

    Andrew. Above is a link to a Mtn View map at mapquest. The cemetery itself does not seem to have a map anywhere in its website. After I called to double check, they may think about adding one when the website is updated. Stafford

  5. Andrew Says:

    Thanks for that.

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