Monday, January 16, 2006

One Way to Search for Alumni: An Afternoon Stroll Through Forest Hill Cemetery - Part 1

My father, his brother Wally, my paternal grandparents, a great-aunt, and many cousins are buried there, so I often visit Madison’s Forest Hill Cemetery. I usually drive my car to the sections where their graves are located and park nearby because street parking is often unavailable.

Today, however, was Martin Luther King Day, a school holiday in Madison, as well as a national holiday. As a result, Speedway Road was not lined with cars belonging to West High School students and faculty. So I decided to park on the street and enjoy the brisk, sunny day by walking to visit family graves. I also wanted to stroll through other parts of the cemetery, since I hoped I might sight some gravestones for members of the Madison High School Class of 1900. In addition, I wanted to look for the gravestone for John Bardeen, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who graduated from Central High School in 1923.

The photo below is of Bardeen’s gravestone, located in Section 25 of Forest Hill Cemetery. Notice the two symbols inscribed on the left, above his name. Bardeen was awarded two Nobel Prizes in physics.

The stone behind the gravestone for John Bardeen and his wife, Jane, is not there by accident. It marks the graves of his parents: his father, Charles R. Bardeen, founder of the UW Medical School, and mother, Althea Harmer Bardeen. The inscriptions are on the reverse side, as you can see from the photo below:

I did discover and photograph photos of a good number of other Madison Central High School graduates -- not all from the Class of 1900 -- and I will post some of them when I have more information about these alumni.

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