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The Ordinary, Extraordinary Cemetery
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The Ordinary, Extraordinary Cemetery

Author: Jennie Johnson & Dianne Hartshorn

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The Ordinary, Extraordinary Cemetery is a podcast for cemetery lovers, preservers, and even those who've never walked among the graves. Join hosts Jennie and Dianne as they explore old cemeteries and learn the stories of those buried within their walls. After all, every death had a life, and every life had a story.
31 Episodes
Jennie and Dianne take a trip to the past to explore Mt. Pisgah the ordinary extraordinary cemetery located just outside of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Cripple Creek is where Colorado's last great gold boom took place in 1891. Mt. Pisgah is the final resting place of hundreds of hard rock miners, cowboys, railway workers, mothers and children, ladies of ill repute, and many others who dreamed golden dreams. In this episode we hear tale of a man killed in a bar-room brawl, meet Cripple Creek's most beloved madams and learn about the Peiffers who were integral members of the Cripple Creek community. Resources for this episode include:Antonuccio, Steven, and Jan Mackell. "Voices of Cripple Creek.", uploaded by Steven Antonuccio, 5 Nov. 2019,, Jim. "The Treasure of the Cripple Creek Mining District.", uploaded by Steven Antonuccio, 28 July 2018,, M. (1979). Money Mountain: The Story of Cripple Creek Gold. Bison Books.Lee, M. B., & Thomas, L. (1984). Cripple Creek Days. Bison Books. Cripple Creek, C. O. (1992). Cripple Creek Colorado Commemorative Centennial Program. (1-95).Feitz, L. (1967). Myers Avenue a Quick History of Cripple Creek's Red Light District. (5th ed., 1-31). Little London Press. "Cripple Creek Heritage Center." Accessed 2 May 2021. Weiser, K. (n.d.). Pearl de Vere - Soiled Dove of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Retrieved May 2, 2021, from Mitchell, C. A. (n.d.). My Own Mini Deadwood. Retrieved May 2, 2021, from (n.d.). Mt. Pisgah Cemetery. Retrieved May 2, 2021, from, D. (n.d.). Exploring Mt. Pisgah Cemetery in Cripple Creek. Retrieved May 2, 2021, from Historic Cripple Creek. Retrieved May 2, 2021, from (n.d.). Learn about Cripple Creek's colorful gold camp history. Retrieved May 2, 2021, from
In this episode Jennie and Dianne explore Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. They share the tragic stories of victims from a steamship explosion, the heart-breaking story of the first woman charged with murder in the Oregon territory,  they share an article written in 1922 about the historical significance of the cemetery and why it needs to be cared for, and they talk about a new, exciting project to commemorate the many Chinese immigrants buried in this ordinary, extraordinary cemetery. 
Dianne and Jennie attempt to uncover the history surrounding a wooded cemetery located inside of Indian springs State Park in Butts County, Georgia. We are hoping this episode will encourage anyone who has more information on this cemetery to let us know. Perhaps your ancestors are buried there? We would love to learn more of the stories laid to rest in such a fascinating ordinary, extraordinary cemetery! 
Kristen Allen, founder of BloomBridge, joins Jennie and Dianne this week to discuss how a promise to her grandmother led to building a business that helps to connect the living and the dead. BloomBridge believes there is something to be said for remembering your loved ones. Honoring someone after they pass is about respect and loyalty. Flowers in a cemetery represent that life is still there and brings peace of healing to those that are still here. They want to help spread that peace to everyone. 
Jennie and Dianne share the history of Montana's oldest and best preserved ghost town and its cemeteries: Bannack, Montana.  They tell of the discovery of gold, the tenacity of the residents and they share some of the obituaries of those who were there when the town was born and when it was no more.  Come along to another ordinary, extraordinary cemetery in the wild, wild west!
Special guest Karen Dustman tells the stories of stonecutter W.E.Lindsey who is credited with carving many elaborate headstones in Nevada, California, Illinois and many other states. She also shares the research she and her colleagues have done to publish the stories of the many ordinary, extraordinary souls buried in the Genoa Cemetery in Genoa, Nevada. 
Jennie and Dianne are joined by special guest Jeff Levy to learn the mysterious story behind a unique, exotic and mysterious headstone located in Denver, Colorado's Fairmount Cemetery.  We learn that not everything carved in stone is as it seems in this ordinary, extraordinary cemetery. 
Jennie and Dianne honor their Irish heritage by exploring Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, Ireland. This ordinary, extraordinary cemetery is the final resting place to more than 1.5 million souls including Irish revolutionaries, poets, musicians, and many more wonderful people. It is also the site of a tower that allows you to see the ocean and the Irish mountains. Ireland is a land of stories, magic, and history. 
Jennie and Dianne visit Denver, Colorado's oldest, continuously operated cemetery, Riverside. They will discuss how Riverside Cemetery replaced Denver's first cemetery, how it lost its water rights, and tell three ordinary, extraordinary stories of some of its permanent residents. While this cemetery is no longer the garden glory it once was, it still contains many wonderful monuments and symbolism of the Victorian era.
Join Jennie and Dianne as they talk with Lisa Sandmeyer, Superintendent at Historic Topeka Cemetery in Topeka, Kansas. Lisa is a wonderful storyteller as she introduces us to several fascinating women who are permanent residents of the cemetery. Some of these women include: Dr. Harriet Adams, (1867-1938), her sister Zu Adams (1859-1911) who made her career with the Kansas State Historical Society, and Hattie Freeman Tarbet (1849-1942) daughter of a freeborn-black man who built up her father's real estate investments in Topeka to become a very wealthy woman, as well as several others. Come along as we visit another ordinary, extraordinary cemetery!
Lane Gresham and Brooks Garcia join Jennie to tell the stories of those buried in the Old Clarkesville Cemetery in Clarkesville, Georgia. They will introduce us to "the meanest man in Georgia", one of the first great photographers, a young man who lost his life in a tragic farming accident, and many others. They also talk about their many restoration efforts from repairing and preserving tombstones to bringing back many of the original flowers and plants of the Victorian era. Come along as we visit this truly ordinary, extraordinary cemetery where "they dig the dead!"
Jennie, Dianne and special guest Lara Maerz explore Act 3 of Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town". The entire act takes place in the town cemetery. Find out how the fictional cemetery of Grovers Corner, New Hampshire compares to many small town cemeteries across America and around the world. We talk about the importance of sharing and remembering the ordinary, extraordinary people who make up the communities where these cemeteries are necessary and ponder just how well the living truly appreciate life before death. 
Love is in the air! OR buried beneath the soil! Join Jennie and Dianne as they visit Layton Cemetery in the town of Blackpool in Lancashire, England and Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina. Both of these cemeteries hold the remains of star-crossed lovers and their stories are retold in this episode. We are very grateful to Deborah Contessa Hargreaves and Jennifer Aaron for allowing us to use their writings for this episode.  Come along as we share these ordinary, extraordinary love stories just in time for Valentine's Day!
Jennie and Dianne talk with special guest Deborah Andres. Deborah has dedicated two decades of her life to the funeral profession with an enduring mission to elevate death care to serve grieving families with empathy and professionalism. She spent 5 years at Ang Chin Moh Group, one of the most established funeral services providers in Singapore. Prior to her stint in Asia, Deborah spent over 14 years with the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) in the United States where she rose to the position of Vice-President of International Relations.  A Canadian national from Montreal, Quebec, Deborah has a Bachelor of Science (Police Technology) degree from the John Abbott College. Fluent in English, Spanish and French, she is a member of the International Federation of Thanatologists Association (FIAT-IFTA), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Executive Global Network (EGN).
In this episode Jennie and Dianne travel back in time to experience June 25, 1914 in Salem, Massachusetts. On that day the worst fire Salem has ever known swept through much of the city destroying homes, churches, businesses and even part of its first and oldest cemetery, The Old Burying Point. They also "stop by" the grave site of one of the three victims who died as a direct result of the devastating inferno. Listen along as they visit these ordinary, extraordinary cemeteries and hear the story of how Salem proved how a community can rise again from its ashes.  
Jennie and Dianne virtually visit the gravesites of the first 10 presidents of the United States of America. They also share a bit of each of their inaugural  addresses based on what was happening at the time each of these men took the oath of office. By examining each of these addresses, we learn a little about each of these men and how they helped to shape America from it's infancy as a brand new country.  For our American listeners, we hope this episode inspires you as a citizen, and for our listeners in other countries, we hope this gives you some idea of what it means to us to be American.  
Jennie and Dianne are joined by Ryan Seidemann and Christine Halling of the Louisiana Cemetery Task Force to discuss what happens to cemeteries and their permanent residents when natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes strike. They share their experience and expertise on planning strategies  once they know a storm is about to hit and how they handle recovery and restoration in the aftermath. 
In this episode Jennie and Dianne pay a visit to the Old Burying Ground, also called the First Congregational Church Cemetery, in Kittery Point, Maine where lie the bodies of six sailors who lost their lives in a wintery sea accident in 1876. It is a tale of woe and one of a community joining together to do what they could to see to it that these men were not forgotten after their tragic deaths. 
Join Jennie and Dianne as they read select and rather juicy poems from The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. These poems are written from the perspective of those buried in the cemetery of the fictional town of Spoon River. Meet husbands and wives who drive each other crazy, the madam of a brothel who must pay regularly to support the public school, the tragic story of a young woman whose "virtue" is stolen and dies a tragic death at the hands of the doctor who was only trying to help and how it all drove her father to his own grave. Happy listening and happy new year! 
Merry Christmas! In this episode Jennie and Dianne make a brief stop at the graveside of Louisa May Alcott and then retell one of her Christmas short stories, Tilly's Christmas. We wish you a very merry Christmas!
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