The Lone Headstone of Gnadenfeld

“The destruction early this summer of the huge Braun barn that dominated the landscape of Gnadenfeld for over 100 years spells the end of an era, for it was the last significant building of the original village.”

Thus wrote Ernie Braun in East Reserve Reflections, published in January 2000.

In an effort to see what remained, I had visited this place last year with Andrew and posted about it here. I remembered this area as being stranger than it was upon my second visit. Now, realizing the final remnant of Gnadenfeld fell in 1999… it occurs to me that I may have actually seen the barn! I’d been to Gnadenfeld on a cold snowy winter night in the late 1990s, visiting my friend who was babysitting at a Gnadenfeld residence. I have no idea which one. I just remember following her directions down this road I’d never traveled before, to the very end, then turning, and… it was just a weird place. A large barn that dominated the landscape, left over from the original 1870s village, would certainly have an impact on my vague wintery memory. Now with it removed, perhaps it make sense that I no longer have the same impression.

But something does still remain: a tree, and a headstone. Join me as we take a closer look!

This is why I imagine every tree to shelter a headstone.

A little fence.

And a beautiful headstone.

Margaretha Braun Wiens, born 1855, died 1926. Someone has created a new headstone for her, and this I love, though it was entangled in a thicket of weeds when I paid her a visit.

I’m so glad I took the opportunity to visit Margaretha’s grave when the weather was so gorgeous and the field newly harvested.

Magic hour was approaching, you can tell by the light.

The tree guarding Margaretha’s grave is quite impressive, and someone is clearly caring for it. To me, that is such a relief. Steinbach is suffering a real scourge of disease, more trees die and are removed every day, or so it seems. Seeing this tree in Gnadenfeld gave me hope.

Another post about Gnadenfeld:

I Told Andrew Gnadenfeld Still Exists. I Think I Lied.