Category Archives: Aspin Hill Memorial Park

It’s Spelled “Aspin Hill”

Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery business card, ca. 1970. Digital image courtesy of the Montgomery County Humane Society
Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery business card, ca. 1970. Digital image courtesy of the Montgomery County Humane Society

Many people believe that I am misspelling the name of the cemetery on my blog and in my posts on Facebook.  Here are some artifacts from the archives of the cemetery which show that Aspin Hill really is the name of the cemetery.  As I point out in the history of the cemetery, while the road adjacent to the cemetery and the surrounding neighborhoods are called “Aspen Hill,” the cemetery’s original owners intentionally named it “Aspin Hill.”

Here is the back and the front of a postcard found in the files of the cemetery.  In this case, the reverse side is more relevant to the subject of this post.  However, I can’t resist asking, “Who puts caskets on a postcard?”  Answer:  Mr. Nash.

Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery postcard, ca. 1970. Digital image courtesy of the Montgomery County Humane Society
Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery postcard, ca. 1970. Digital image courtesy of the Montgomery County Humane Society
Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery postcard, ca. 1970. Digital image courtesy of the Montgomery County Humane Society
Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery postcard, ca. 1970. Digital image courtesy of the Montgomery County Humane Society

Now when someone tells me I’ve spelled the name of the cemetery incorrectly, I’ll just send them a link to this post.

Aspin Hill Then And Now: The Snook Plot

Snook Plot, Aspin Hill Memorial Park, ca. 1927. Malcolm Walter Collection, MW1991.274A. From the Collections of Peerless Rockville, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply
Snook Plot, Aspin Hill Memorial Park, ca. 1927. Malcolm Walter Collection, MW1991.274A. From the Collections of Peerless Rockville, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply

Selma Snook buried four of her poodles in Aspin Hill Cemetery for Pet Animals in the early 1920s.  From left to right, are interred the remains of Boots, Buster, Trixie, and Snowball.  Their funerals were described in Aspin Hill Cemetery for Pet Animals, The Early Years.

Peerless Rockville, the historical society for the city of Rockville, Maryland, has a collection of photographs taken by Malcolm Walter.  Eight of them were of Aspin Hill Cemetery for Pet Animals (as it was called then), taken in 1927.  I was particularly interested in how orderly the grave stones were in the plot and wondered what they might look like now. Continue reading Aspin Hill Then And Now: The Snook Plot

Aspin Hill Flapper

Actress Louise Brooks, the quintessential flapper of the 1920s. Library of Congress, George Grantham Bain Collection, Call Number: LC-B2- 5474-15 [P&P].
Actress Louise Brooks, the quintessential flapper of the 1920s. Library of Congress, George Grantham Bain Collection, Call Number: LC-B2- 5474-15 [P&P].
Aspin Hill Cemetery for Pet Animals was begun in 1920, the first year of the decade of the flapper.  A flapper was a young woman who flouted convention by wearing short skirts and bobbing her hair.  She was often seen in wearing a cloche hat and galoshes.  Sometimes, her behavior might be considered risqué, but this was not necessarily so.  At Aspin Hill Kennels, Bertha Birney named one of her female Boston terriers “Aspen Hill Flapper.”  In a 1923 issue of Dog Fancier, it was reported that Aspen Hill Flapper was making quite an impression at dog shows all along the East Coast. Continue reading Aspin Hill Flapper

Vintage Photos of Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery

Boston terrier paying respects to Skippy. August 15, 1946. Reprinted with permission of the DC Public Library, Star Collection © Washington Post
Boston terrier paying respects to Skippy. August 15, 1946. Reprinted with permission of the DC Public Library, Star Collection © Washington Post

The photographs in this post are from Evening Star newspaper, which ceased publication in 1981.  The District of Columbia (DC) Public Library holds the photo morgue for the newspaper, which is archived in its Washingtoniana Collection.  The images appear on this blog with permission of the DC Public Library.

Rocky, the Boston terrier in the photo above, belonged to George and Gertrude Young.  It was the Youngs who erected the mausoleum in honor of Mickey, another one of their Boston terriers. Continue reading Vintage Photos of Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery

Rags, War Hero

Rags, War Hero. 1st Division Mascot, WW I. Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
Rags, War Hero. 1st Division Mascot, WW I. Aspin Hill Memorial Park.

There’s a granite stone at Aspin Hill Memorial Park which marks the grave of a dog named Rags who is dubbed a “War Hero” and “1st Division Mascot WW I.” I wondered how this dog became a war hero, but I didn’t wonder for long. The tale of Rags is one of the best documented of the pet cemetery stories. Continue reading Rags, War Hero

Dog Statues in Aspin Hill Memorial Park

When a monument to a pet includes the figure of a dog, it pulls at my heart just a little bit harder.  These are the best of the dog statues in Aspin Hill Memorial Park.

Skippy, a Boston terrier (May 2013) dog statues
Skippy, a Boston terrier (May 2013)

I took this photo in May 2013, around the time I first started photographing around Aspin Hill Memorial Park. Lately, there’s been a bone between Skippy’s two paws. I’m sure he’d have loved that. Continue reading Dog Statues in Aspin Hill Memorial Park

Eddie “The Monkey Man” Bernstein: a Rags to Riches Story

Eddie Bernstein with his monkey, Gypsy, ca. 1936.
Eddie Bernstein with his monkey, Gypsy, ca. 1936. Reprinted with permission of the DC Public Library, Star Collection © Washington Post

Somewhere in Aspin Hill Memorial Park lie the remains of a monkey named Gypsy, the companion of a legless beggar on the streets of Washington, D.C. How a panhandler was able to afford a funeral and burial in a pet cemetery is an interesting question.

I was first alerted to the story of Eddie “The Monkey Man” Bernstein while reading an article written in 1979 in the Montgomery Journal. It was five years after S. Alfred Nash, former owner of the cemetery, had passed away. The reporter interviewed Nash’s widow, Martha, who was still running the cemetery at the time.

Mrs. Nash told the story of a monkey buried in Aspin Hill that belonged to a legless beggar on the street in Washington, D.C. She recalled giving her children coins to give to the monkey, who entertained them with antics and then handed his take over to the beggar. At the end of the story, she shook her head and said, “I used to feel so sorry for him sitting there on the street…Shoot, the man had more money than I got.” Continue reading Eddie “The Monkey Man” Bernstein: a Rags to Riches Story

Lest We Forget

Metal plaque on concrete of a Boston terrier. Lettering above reads “Lest We Forget.” Aspin Hill Memorial Park.

I love this simple grave stone.  There is no name or date on it, so I have no story to tell you.  It appears to be cast concrete.  Above the portrait of the Boston terrier, there is a motto, spelled out in metal letters pressed into the concrete:  Lest We Forget.  It’s a simple reminder of what Aspin Hill — or any cemetery — is about:  the loving remembrance of those who have enriched our lives and are now gone.