Not Technically a Cemetery

When choosing a final resting place there are so many things to consider. How would you like to be remembered? Choose your words carefully, because they will be carved in stone. But what type of stone — granite, sandstone, siltstone, slate, marble, limestone, whetstone? Or, perhaps white bronze is more your style.

As for embellishments, symbolic imagery abounds. Did you know that ivy carved into a gravestone symbolizes immortality? A pansy, humility; and a lily, purity. Grave marker imagery is often accompanied by a date of birth and death, and an epitaph, a summary of that person’s legacy.

Indiana law IC 14-21-1-3 defines a burial ground as a ground where there are human remains … Theodore Clement Steele and his wife Selma chose to have their earthly remains cremated, so technically their resting place is not a cemetery. Technical terminology aside, the cemetery of T.C. Steele is a lovely place.

steele_gravestoneFor the grandfather of Indiana landscape painting, simplicity was key. Buried among four (formerly five) grand white oaks, a small, rectangular slab of limestone proclaims: Beauty outlives everything. Such a succinct statement for a life-time landscape painter and connoisseur of beauty in all its forms. Nestled in a clearing near the tree line of the trail of silences, Steele’s burial place invites visitors to spend a silent moment, contemplating the beauty of his Brown County sanctuary.

The T.C. Steele State Historic Site will be open this Memorial Day, so if you are looking for a memorable family outing, pack a picnic and pay a visit to Indiana’s resting landscape painter. Even now, Steele would relish the company of those who relish the beauty of nature.

Amber Zaragoza is the historic interpreter at the T.C. Steele State Historic Site.