Forest Home Cemetery- Final Resting Place for Famous Milwaukeeans

The Pabst family graves- so many babies died young
I never thought I'd become one of "those" people who would hang out in cemeteries as I got older.  I can't tell you the number of cemeteries my mom brought us to when we were kids.  She was always interested in genealogy and would send us on something like a wild goose chase trying to find names on stones.  If you've never tried this, believe me, it's never as easy as you'd think it should be to find a stationary object among lots of others.  The cemetery directory lists a plot number in an area and then you have to hunt.

Well, I decided I'd read so much about our Milwaukee Forest Home Cemetery, that I should have a look.  They have an online self guided tour you can download, and it's said to be the resting place for anyone who was someone in early Milwaukee.  Because it's 200 acres, you'd be hard pressed to walk the whole thing in a day, so I opted for a car tour where you park the car and get out hunting for names you recognize.  They have various tours you can do, so I opted for the Beer Barons.  You might have heard that beer made Milwaukee famous.  There were many great Germans who settled in Milwaukee and started breweries.  The cemetery even offers guided tours on weekends with a historian who takes you around and brings the stories to life.

I was surprised by the sheer number of graves and how large the cemetery was.  And even though it was large, there were so many interesting headstones.  This isn't your run of the mill boring cemetery.  These beautiful hand crafted stones are works of art.  As you browse the headstones in the family plots, you also feel a bit remorseful as you realize so many of these families lost many children at a very young age.  The landscaping was also beautiful.  Trees were in bloom.  The grass was mowed.  Even the grass was trimmed away from the stones.  The place is painstakingly maintained.

There are many themes, but I opted for the beer barons, although I saw quite a few other famous graves along the way.  It said on the tour sheet to start at the Halls of History.  This was a good place to see photos of famous Milwaukeeans, as well as enjoy the air conditioning, and restrooms.  They have a few paragraphs about the people that will jog your memory.  When I hear a name, I think I know who they are, but this gives a few more details about how they came into their fortune or business, and includes other relatives that played an important part in their lives.  I found it quite interesting.
Display case in Halls of History
 From the main building, I took the driving tour to the areas where there were famous beer barons like Schlitz, Pabst, Krug, Uihlein, Blatz, and Best.  They are not grouped together, so you have to find the sign for the area number, park the car and walk.  It was a beautiful day, so I enjoyed the walk.  I think it would be even more interesting to take one of the docent led tours on the weekend so you could hear them weave stories of hard work and intrigue about these famous men.  I'll have to do that another day.
Blatz family gravesite- this is enormous!

See how the tree is growing around the stones

The trees are in bloom and very pretty


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