Archive for the ‘cemetery knockers’ Category

The top knocker of Mountain View Cemetery

17 May 2008

knocker

Up at the very top of the public part of Mountain View Cemetery is this knocker. I think it has a mixture of rock types in it, but I haven’t lain down on it with my magnifier to tease them out. For now let’s call it greenstone, which is how the area is mapped. The stone is a bit dirty, unlike every other knocker in the yard. The groundskeepers ought to give it a good scrubbing with a water jet.

Across the road from here the other week, I passed a pile of rock and soil from a grave excavation and fingered a few of the stones—looked like a gray basalt. Greenstone is a mildly metamorphosed basalt; it often has wiggly veins of carbonate. See three examples starting here. It is somewhere between about 160 and 70 million years old, that is, Jurassic to Cretaceous.

The view of the bay and the city from up here is fantastic. The view of the hills has potential. The cemetery is slowly getting rid of the eucalyptus along the east side, and more and more of the lush hills and neighborhoods is visible every year.

North knocker, Mountain View Cemetery

30 April 2008

knocker

Continuing my inventory of the knockers of Mountain View, this is on the far north end of the cemetery, along the lowest of the three roads back there. It appears to be the coarse, tough sandstone—technically a metagraywacke—that makes up the majority of the Piedmont block. I can’t always tell what a rock is at the cemetery because I can’t whack it with my hammer. Don’t you try that either.

The high knocker, Mountain View Cemetery

20 April 2008

knocker

This knocker can be hard to find. It’s two roads up from Millionaires’ Row and to the south, but its bay-facing side is obscured by trees. I took this photo in 2003; today I could barely see it from the road, and I knew where to look. It’s mostly chert. I’m calling it the high knocker because it’s the tallest one in the cemetery; at least two others are higher on the hill.

If you approach this rock, beware of poison oak.

Knocker on display

17 April 2008

knocker

Mountain View Cemetery is a manicured showcase of the lower Oakland Hills. When Frederick Law Olmsted designed it he left the natural contours of the land, and to this day it’s the nearest thing to the original oak-dotted grasslands that the first visitors saw (although the abundant elk and grizzlies are long gone). And decades before the rock worshippers of the Gilded Age put their stamp on Berkeley’s hill neighborhoods, Mountain View left the knockers alone. There are outcrops of the wild variety up near the utility yard, a couple of chert boulders in charming neglect, and there is this splendid thing left in the middle of its own circle above the Henry Cogswell monument. I should put up shots of the rest of the cemetery’s knockers—I think I have them all.

My secret chert

3 October 2007

chert
If you walk up in Mountain View Cemetery you’ll see all sorts of exotic stone. Nowadays fine stone is a worldwide product. There’s a fabulous anorthosite you’ll see sometimes that comes from Scandinavia. Rapakivi granite too. But I think the older stones include marble possibly quarried across the bay—across the San Andreas fault, actually. Some of the old granite undoubtedly comes from California, whether the Sierra Nevada or the Salinian block in Monterey County. I enjoy all those. But here and there you’ll see stonework incorporating the local stuff, chert and calc-silicate from the Piedmont hill, part of the Novato Quarry terrane in the Franciscan complex. And even more charming is the occasional outcrop, left wild, like this dignified chert.


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