The first part of this post is a sequel to a 2010 post, That's My Queue, and if you haven't read that one, I suggest you read it first. That earlier post deals with the original "family plot" at Disneyland that apparently lasted until 1972 (or early in 1973 at the latest). Anyway, the Imagineers tried to make up for the loss by putting a new cemetery up on the berm. That one lasted until 2000, then . . . poof.
Edit: That's still true, but now, in 2016, with the return of the berm graveyard, more information has come to light, and the holes are filling in. This whole post has been revamped as of November 2016.
If this sort of thing smacks of trivia for trivia's sake to some of you, let me smack back: This bit of history should be documented while it's still possible to do so, before the memories fade any further. The (original) berm graveyard disappeared in 2000. If not now, when? If not here, where? Besides, there are whimsical twists at the end that will send us out in search of artistic influences, a Long-Forgotten staple, so fear not, oh ye right-brain-dominated readers.
but the stone itself was new and redesigned.
#7 "Dodd" > "Claude"; #10 "Chauncey" > "Francis"; #13 "Mister West" > "Master Gracey").
stones still to be found in the WDW graveyard, but the designs are different.
the texts (#9 "Old Cousin Huett" > "Cousin Huet"; #11 "Borden" >"Gordon").
There have actually been three berm graveyards at Disneyland. Stage Three debuted in September of 2016. Stage One was simple and short-lived. After the original "family plot" was removed (probably 1972), they simply transplanted three of the stones to the hillside. Stage Two is the one people are thinking about when they speak of the "original berm graveyard." The handful of family plot originals came out and ten new stones were made and put in. This photo proves that the Stage Two berm graveyard had arrived by December of 1977 at the latest:
The earliest photos I've seen that show tombstones on the berm, however, are those below, which show the Stage One graveyard. That's
#1 ("Wathel R. Bender"), #2 ("Phineas Pock"), and #3 ("Cousin Victor") in a cluster. The top photo dates between 1972 and
1977. (How do I know? It's from a batch of DL snapshots taken after Country Bears but before Big Thunder Mountain RR.)
thanks to a terrific 1971 photo of the family plot recently posted by Tom Morris, we can identify the precise spot:
Stage One would have looked something like this:
I suspect that they were placed on the berm very soon after the family plot was dismantled,
perhaps immediately. Also, this is probably when the names on the crypts first appeared.
If our analysis is correct, the berm graveyard that we all mean when we say "the original berm
photo I've seen that includes most of the new graveyard in one shot:
number of snapshots of the berm in 1989, and by cunningly stitching together a couple of them,
we can see what the left end looked like by then. Here's a montage of some of his separate photos.
Bender stone is in bad shape. It has swiveled on its base and its "horns" are less conspicuous. We'll learn why later.
As for the far right, we are blessed with a splendid shot by Gordon Free, dated about 1986. I've posted it before. It
The Beginning of the End