Water taxi on Hillsborough River

Vaults, Cradle Graves, Memorial Plantings, And Decorative Enclosure


Square or doomed vaults (raised monuments) are often misinterpreted as above ground burials. In fact, the interment is below ground, but the raised monument is a counter-measure against the grave's sinking in Florida's soft soil. Cradle graves do not, as is popularly assumed, mark the interments only of children. These crib-like stone or masonry forms contained seasonal flower beds. Memorial plantings were common in rural cemeteries. Popular trees and plants such as cedar, oak, ivy, and myrtle were installed at gravesites by survivors; some endure to the present day. Decorative enclosures are a charming feature of Oaklawn and were very common in the 19th and 20th centuries. Made of ironwork, stone, or masonry these enclosed a single grave or, more commonly, a family plot.

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