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The Peaslee Sphinx.

The Peaslee Sphinx

Field review by the editors.

Louisville, Kentucky

One of the oldest offbeat grave monuments in Cave Hill Cemetery is the Peaslee Sphinx that arrived in 1907. At the time it was startling to Southern sensibilities, which, outside of New Orleans, tended to keep graveyard art to traditional Christian forms such as mourning figures, angels, and an occasional truncated tree trunk. And it didn't help that the Sphinx, at the Peaslee family plot, was positioned right alongside the cemetery's main thoroughfare. If you visited Cave Hill, you saw the Sphinx.

The Peaslee Sphinx.

The Sphinx is 14 feet long, carved from a single block of granite by Louisville's Muldoon Monument Company. The Peaslees buried in its proximity include Charles, his wife Ella, and their daughter Eleanor, who were dead for nearly two years before the Sphinx arrived. It was probably not their idea, and appears to have been the brainstorm of Eleanor's surviving sisters, who sold one of the Peaslee's summer cottages to pay for it. They were inspired by a Sphinx in a Cincinnati cemetery, which squatted over the graves of some of their mom's relatives.

Suzanne Carter, granddaughter of Suzanne Danforth Peaslee Harbeson (one of the sisters), told us that her grandmother remained proud of the Sphinx for the rest of her life, and had her ashes interred next to it in 1969.

Also see: Cave Hill Cemetery

The Peaslee Sphinx

Cave Hill Cemetery

701 Baxter Ave., Louisville, KY
From the Cave Hill Cemetery main entrance, at the corner of Baxter Ave. and E. Broadway, follow the road with the solid line into the cemetery for about a half-mile. You'll see the Sphinx on the right, next to the road.
Daily 8-4:45. Gated after hours. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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