Graveyard Views: 1872 and 2020

The title is a bit misleading because, while it is easy to use Google Earth to get aerial views of the graveyard and surrounding church property today, 1872 views are not readily available. There is this wonderful gift, Bird’s Eye View of the City of Columbia, “a perspective map not drawn to scale,” which offers an chance to reflect on how things have changed in 148 years. Below is the whole image which can be seen in high resolution at the link above. A copy for framing and hanging can be purchased, and many are hung around the city of Columbia, one of them in our house.

Zooming in to the block which includes St. Peter’s Catholic Church and would have shown the grave markers, if that much detail had been provided, results in the picture below. Google Earth is to thank for the 2020 view of the same block from roughly the same angle. No. 19 in the 1872 picture is identified as “St. Peter (Catholic),” and No. 45 is identified as “Central Hotel.” Some of the smaller buildings were probably residences. Maybe the building in the center was a stable for horses of hotel guests. There had to be one somewhere. The church building labeled “19” in the 1872 view was replaced by the one in the Google Earth view, dedicated in 1909.

The simple admission that the 1872 map is not drawn to scale explains why the approximately 172 graveyard markers at the time are not shown. Below is a current  plane view of the property showing that the graveyard today, with twice the number of markers, occupies less than 10 percent of the land. There is plenty of empty space in the 1872 view but no way to show details of grave markers. Probably the buildings in the 1872 drawing are larger than scale. Unfortunately, the amount of construction work and earth moving in getting from 1872 to 2020 may have resulted in the loss or damage of some of the markers we cannot now locate.

Thanks to Google Maps Satellite View

Well, at least we have an 1872 view of where the graveyard was at the time. There are lots of food for thought and many ideas for research in that old picture map of the city.



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