I spent Thanksgiving in Mankato, Minnesota.
I was one of those unlucky holiday travelers caught in the middle of the huge snowstorm that slammed the north and northeast. Fortunately I was driving, so my flight wasn’t cancelled. But never before had I witnessed so many wrecks and cars that spun out of control along Interstate 35 in Iowa. Thankfully, I made it to my destination safe and sound.
It seems like every time I visit the Land of 10,000 Lakes I discover something exciting or new. This year, thanks to my trusty Garmin GPS, I was guided through a part of the state I had never been to before. While admiring the snow-covered landscape along MN 109, I noticed a cluster of trees in the distance. A shimmer at the base of the tree line caught my eye. Then I saw another, and then another. Could the sun’s glare be the playing tricks on me or were my eyes strained from the lengthy drive? I wasn’t exactly sure but my instincts told me to check it out.
When I reached the forest I was pleasantly surprised to discover a cemetery in what seemed like an enchanted forest. All of the headstones were spaced evenly throughout the trees which reminded me of natural sentries watching over the graves. The fresh snow made the scene even more fascinating.
It was so picturesque that I started snapping photos until I eventually found the name of the cemetery on a pale gray granite stone. It read Alden Cemetery.
Alden, MN, is located in Freeborn County, which borders Iowa, and has a population of 656. I felt a little odd standing out in the middle of a snowstorm taking photos of a cemetery in the middle of nowhere. And I’m sure the drivers of the two SUVs who drove past were thinking the same. But it was too captivating to pass up the opportunity to explore this place of history.
All cemeteries have their own personalities and unique characteristics. It’s what makes each of them so special. The fact this cemetery was hidden in a forest made it all the more intriguing.
Do you have a favorite cemetery? What are some things that make it distinct? I’d like to hear from you.
Until next time…