Category Archives: Aspin Hill Memorial Park

Humans Buried at Aspin Hill

The graves of Robin Goodfellow and his owner, A. Wilson Mattox. Mr. Mattox was the first human to be buried at Aspin Hill. (Photograph taken April 2019)
The graves of Robin Goodfellow and his owner, A. Wilson Mattox. Mr. Mattox was the first human to be buried at Aspin Hill. (Photograph taken April 2019)

The statue of Robin Goodfellow sits sphinx-link on the grounds of Aspin Hill Memorial Park, way in the back near where the older burials are. On one side of the base of his memorial are inscribed these words: “To the memory of my precious greyhound Robin Goodfellow January 3, 1926 – May 24, 1935.” On the other side, it reads, “Robin’s little day on earth is ended.  He loved much, sympathized deeply, understood clearly, and was kind.”  At the front of the base is the name, “A. Wilson Mattox.” If you look to the left of Robin Goodfellow, you will see A. Wilson Mattox’s own grave stone, inscribed with his birth and death dates, November 12, 1876 to May 25, 1950. Continue reading Humans Buried at Aspin Hill

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

This is the current sign on the cemetery:

Sign for Aspin Hill Memorial Park.  July 2019
Sign for Aspin Hill Memorial Park. July 2019

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

"Mrs. L. V. Carr with Billy Girl and Aspin Hill Flapper, two dogs that have attracted a considerable amount of attention." Evening Star, January 26, 1924, pg. 16. National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress. LOT 12296 (H) Volume 1, p. 11 (mislabeled "Mrs. P. E. Smith, etc.")
“Mrs. L. V. Carr with Billy Girl and Aspin Hill Flapper, two dogs that have attracted a considerable amount of attention.” Evening Star, January 26, 1924, pg. 16. National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress. LOT 12296 (H) Volume 1, p. 11 (mislabeled “Mrs. P. E. Smith, etc.”)

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 “Aspin Hill Flapper.”  In a 1923 issue of Dog Fancier, it was reported that Aspin 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

Looking for Mr. Nash

[This was originally part of “Aspin Hill Cemetery for Pet Animals, the Nash Years.” That article is currently being re-written. Sept. 3, 2020]

Looking for Mr. Nash

Having read that S. Alfred Nash was buried at Aspin Hill, I went in search of his grave in April of 2018. I had noticed that many of the gravestones featured the surname of the pet’s owner across the top. I went looking for one that said, “NASH.” I found only one such gravestone, which was for pets named Flapjack and Cueball. However, I could find no sign of the grave of S. Alfred Nash nearby.

Cueball and Flapjack, Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
Cueball and Flapjack, Aspin Hill Memorial Park. Photo by Julianne Mangin, April 2018

A plot about 15 feet away from Flapjack and Cueball was situated in a choice spot under a large flowering cherry tree. A couple of empty beer bottles, some fallen limbs, a broken St. Francis of Assisi statue, and a rusted dog figurine had accumulated in the low corner of the plot. In the center was the remnant of a shrub that was nearly dead itself. Something about this area made me want to check it further.

Cuejack, Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
Cuejack, Aspin Hill Memorial Park. Photo by Julianne Mangin, April 2018

There were a couple of metal grave markers flush with the surface of the ground. One of them was read “Cuejack 1960-1976 A Friend to All.” Since the name Cuejack was a combination of the names Cueball and Flapjack, I thought, “I’m on to something.” (I also thought, better Cuejack than Flapball.) About a foot away, I saw what I thought was another marker poking out of the ground. I scraped the dirt away from it with my hands. The marker had the image of a bulldog on it, representing a pet that lived from 1968-1973. Its name was Nashional Bo. Not National Bo like the beer, National Bohemian (“From the Land of Pleasant Living”), but NASHional Bo. I was sure I was in the right place, but where was Mr. Nash’s grave? I idly picked up a piece of trash, an old sign that read “Section 2,” and flipped it over. The metal plate on the opposite side read, “Nash Court.”

Nashional Bo, Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
Nashional Bo, Aspin Hill Memorial Park. Photo by Julianne Mangin, April 2018

Encouraged that I was in the right place, I took a sturdy stick and gently probed the earth. Next to Nashional Bo’s marker, I felt something hard under a half-inch of dirt. It turned out to be a marker that read: “S. Alfred Nash 1909-1974.” I had found Mr. Nash! I felt slightly giddy that I had rescued his marker and his memory.

S. Alfred Nash, Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
S. Alfred Nash, Aspin Hill Memorial Park. Photo by Julianne Mangin, April 2018

My only worry now is that unless the plot is maintained, Mr. Nash’s grave marker could sink into the ground — and obscurity — once again. I visit the cemetery regularly, and I always check to see that the marker is still visible. We are heading into a spell of regular rain these days, and I’m afraid because the marker is below the level of the rest of the plot, it will get covered up with dirt.

Aspin Hill Memorial Park is owned by the Montgomery County Humane Society. They are maintaining the cemetery with regular mowing, but not much else. I believe that they are doing the best they can with the funding they have. I also think it would be nice if some of the historically significant graves, such as Mr. Nash’s, could get some extra attention.

UPDATE 10/19/2018:

Earlier this week, I met for the first time with the staff of Montgomery County Humane Society, which owns Aspin Hill Memorial Park. We walked together around the cemetery, sharing information. I learned that S. Alfred Nash’s cremated remains were moved after his wife died. The owners of Aspin Hill at that time (PETA) would not allow her to be buried there with him.

I called Mount Comfort Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia where Martha Nash was buried in 1991. They confirmed that Mr. Nash’s remains were interred in the same site with her in 1992.

I don’t know why the family left his marker behind at Aspin Hill, but I’m glad it is there. It’s an interesting artifact that might be used in an exhibit about the history of the cemetery.

Nash Court, Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
Nash Court, Aspin Hill Memorial Park. Photo by Julianne Mangin, April 2018

 

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