Happy August Long Monday!
Ah, is it really? Trust cemetery-dweller Erin to contrast the many happy posts of sunny days at the lake. After all, summer always feels strangely melancholic to me. Particularly these days, as there are many dear people on my mind as they suffer various serious setbacks, and there’s nothing I can do about any of these. But I carry these things with me, quietly.
I mentioned this to Andrew, telling him that I felt there was one thing that I was longing to do, as I carry this heaviness: visit unknown cemeteries.
And this is how we came to visit Kronsgard last week.
I’ve known about this cemetery ever since purchasing the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve. Last September, I convinced Andrew to join me in making a valiant attempt at locating Kronsgard. This attempt was a failure, but I blogged about it anyway (because that sodded, impassable road is AMAZING).
This time, we had a lot more success.
Using my knowledge of the highly unusual Peter Wiebe Road which I had gleaned upon our previous visit (that is, do not attempt to approach from the east… unless you’re on foot or ATV), this time we came at it from a different angle. And thus we learned that Peter Wiebe Road is a normal gravel road when approached from the west (read: if coming from Grunthal) — even traversable by a little Jetta (a decidedly un-Grunthal-like vehicular choice).
This road concludes with a driveway to a private farm, and also, Kronsgard Cemetery! (East Reserve, vital to note.)
It is presently a well-kept space inhabited by hordes of mosquitoes.
The Atlas tells me this area later became known as Spencer. I have more to say about that another time.
In Historical Sketches of the East Reserve, Linda Buhler writes of Kronsgart: “The village itself had disappeared well before the turn of the century leaving only a series of dips and hollows where houses had stood before. All that remained in the field were a few broken shards of dishes scattered about for children to discover in later years.”
Apparently this cemetery was invisible and overgrown up until 1975, when Frank S. Funk. Frank T. Friesen, and Peter T. Martens made an effort to form a committee to, erm, bring this cemetery back to life. It’s good to have names of people to thank for making this happen.
Interestingly, Buhler adds: “The use of this gravesite diminished sharply when a badger made its home there in 1922 and unearthed a braid and some fabric remnants from a recent grave.”
Thrilled with locating Kronsgard, Andrew and I launched into the greenspace, taking many photos, like cemetery paparazzi.
And here is the beginning of the soddy part of the half-mile road known as “Peter Wiebe Road”, leading out from Kronsgart:
Andrew’s photo of me — I seem like an apparition:
A note on the spelling of Kronsgard. In both the Atlas and Historical Sketches, it’s spelled Kronsgart(en). But, on the cairn it’s spelled Kronsgard. So, because I’m including so many photos of the cairn, it made sense to me to align with that particular spelling here. (I suspect it’s all interchangeable, depending upon what language you’re speaking or writing.)