Written in Stone

An informative perspective of remembering and celebrating those who have come before us.

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Why do we build monuments?




Why do we Build Monuments?


Why is the desire to build monuments so strong and lasting? What in us sparks the desire

or need to build monuments? The easy answer comes from the word itself, Monument.

The origin of the word comes from a Latin/ French word “Monere”, which means to remind.

For thousands of years’ humans have had the desire to be remembered. Inherently,

those left after a death take on the role of memorializing the deceased. We do this as

a reminder to present and future generations of the life and accomplishments of an

individual, society, or nation.



“A monument, great or small, frail or enduring, is nothing more than the thoughtful

act of one man or group, to perpetuate the memory of loved ones who preceded them.

Thus, a monument is nothing more than a lasting way to say I care”.

– Monument Builders of North America


The monument has great psychological benefit also. A monument gives someone a

place to come, visit, grieve, and remember the dead. Without a place to go, a loved

one often struggles to grieve properly. Unhealthy mourning can result in get strain on

the human body, much less emotional and psychological health. 


The desire to be remember is a natural human response. To allow the lessons and

experiences of your own life to mean something to future generations is an innate

desire. Building monuments creates an everlasting object symbolizing the life and

accomplishments of an individual, bringing meaning and understanding to future

generations of those who have come before. Take some time to walk through your

local cemetery, take in the history and remember those who have come before us

have made today what it is.


Monument." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

Laws, D. (1993). Monument Industry Certification Manual (5th ed., Vol. 2). Evanston, IL: Monument Builders of North America.

Clemence, S. (2016, October 21). These Are the 12 Most Beautiful Cemeteries in the World. Retrieved April 18, 2017, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/photo-essays/2016-10-21/these-are-the-12-most-beautiful-cemeteries-in-the-world

Posted by afortosis@pattenmonument.com at 12:17 PM | 0 comments

Buyer Beware- Online Monument Sellers

Illegible Monument

The photo above shows a monument that was not thought through and designed properly. The letters are illegible even from a few feet away. Once

this stone was installed what could the family do to correct this? Did the manufactuer take responsibility for this, or is the family stuck with this?

Online Monument Sellers – Buyer Beware

Today people sell nearly anything online. Books, Groceries, Cars, Antiques, Zombie Survival Kits… and

Cemetery Monuments.


We could comment on the effects of online sales on local business, but often that conversation seems

polarizing and political.  A more intriguing and meaningful conversation can be had regarding what you

are paying for, and what you are not.


Understandably monuments are not something the average person is well educated on. The memorial

industry has been infested with cost saving shortcuts from startup companies, often simply order

gathering services. Online, it is very easy to find a granite memorial for a loved one for a very low price.

The price is fantastic, unbeatable in our opinions, but what is it you are purchasing? and what does the

higher price include?

When comparing prices, always get the details and compare apples to apples.


Questions to ask:

Where is the Granite quarried?

Will the granite be free of any deformities or blemishes?

How and where is the monument processed?

What shape is the Granite? What are the dimensions?

How is the lettering applied? Is it single or double processed?

Will it be legible from a distance? From several feet away?

How is the monument going to get to the cemetery?

Who is going to pour the cement foundation?

Who is going to set it on the foundation?

If something goes wrong, who can you contact? How will it be resolved?

Are there any restrictions or limitations the cemetery has in place?


Simply put, Memorialists like the staff at Patten Monument are not in the business of selling stone, its far

more than that. It is our goal and passion to provide a permanent vessel of memory, love, affection, art,

reverence, respect and symbolism. We desire a personal experience, that we can listen and learn about

the life of your loved one, and use the information to help you create the monument that will pay tribute

to that person. We will take care of the rest, we will contact and schedule the foundation to be put in, we

 will deliver the monument to the cemetery as well as setting the stone on the grave site. If there ever

arises a problem with the stone we will stand behind our product and fix or replace the stone, with no

charges or hassles.


For over 100 years, Patten has gained the trust of Michigan and Indiana Families by going above and

beyond in our passion for memorialization. 

Posted by afortosis@pattenmonument.com at 9:59 AM | 0 comments

Fear of Cemeteries

Fear of Cemeteries

 Bronze plate this is a cemetery

As children, most of us were introduced to cemeteries with sadness and mourning of the loss

 of a loved one, ghosts and zombies from a frightening movie, or mystery and the unknown

 of death itself. Each of these combinations are perceived as negative, scary, and repulsive.

 It’s very true there is no way to know what happens after death. Will we live forever in paradise,

 be reincarnated as a lion, or simply cease to exist? However, we cannot let that take away from

 the serenity, peacefulness, and the opportunity to learn and grow from those who have come

 before us.


We have an innate tendency to fear the unknown, but a cemetery was never meant to be fearful,

 in fact its purpose was near opposite. Cemeteries are meant to remember, to bring closeness to

 loved ones. Graveyards are meant to inform and remind those living now, of the past, and the

 people who have come before, of their lives, and accomplishments.


The truth is that cemeteries are not the root of the fear, but have innocently played the

 scapegoat for the past century or more. The fear is of our own understanding, or lack of

 understanding of what happens at the end of our days here on earth. We too often have

 thought of death of something that happens to us, not as something that eventually happens.

 We play the victim of the grim reaper, as if death is an enemy out to get us. “If death is a natural

counterpart to life, there’s nothing we can do about it in the end.”


If we can begin to look at cemeteries for the societal and emotional benefit they were created for,

instead of the frightening crypts of our imagination; we can grow to appreciate and learn from the

 past in a new way. Along with this appreciation, we can come closer to the peace that is found in

 the rolling hills of a cemetery.


“Cemeteries should be more than places where stones lie on the ground. Cemeteries hold the

stories of the people who have lived in the past… people who have shaped our past.”

 -  Audrey Bierhans.


Grim REaper

Lamb, Robert. "What makes graveyards scary?" HowStuffWorks Science. HowStuffWorks, 23 Sept. 2008.

Web. 22 Mar. 2017. http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/afterlife/scary-graveyard.htm


"Features." Arrow Bronze. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2017. http://www.arrowbronze.com.au/memorials/features

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Posted by afortosis@pattenmonument.com at 9:47 AM | 0 comments

Memorial Day

Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial DAy 2016

Remembering Memorial Day

During the salted road winters here in the Great Lakes region, we look to Memorial Day as the kick off to

vacation season; a final goodbye to the cold weather. Many of us excitedly anticipate Memorial Day as

the start of summer fun: A 3-day weekend filled with Sunshine (hopefully), Flowers, Barbeques, and



Take a step back, why do we have this national holiday?


Have we selfishly missed the point?


Memorial Day was first observed on May 30th of 1868, under the name of Decoration Day. The day was

designated for the nation to clean, and place flowers or other decorations on the monuments of soldiers

who lost their lives in the civil war.


During World War I, the day was renamed Memorial Day. This was done to include all fallen American

military personnel, not just those who died in the Civil War. In 1971 the observation of memorial was

changed from May 30th, to the last Monday in May. This was part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act,

the same action that declared Memorial Day a Federal Holiday.


Today Cities, towns and individuals honor the fallen in cemeteries, at memorial monuments, and in city

centers participating in parades.


In 2000, a Memorandum was made, “Encouraging individual department and agency personnel, and

Americans everywhere, to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to

remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.”

(usmemorialday.org, 2014)


This year, if you are not going to visit a cemetery, memorial wall, or participate in your local parade;

please take a minute sometime during your Memorial Day celebrations to reflect on the lives that were

lost fighting to protect the United States.

Memorial Day with American Flag, Remember and Honor

History.com Staff. (2009). Memorial Day. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history

Clinton, W. (2014). National Moment of Remembrance (J. Claybourn, Ed.). Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://www.usmemorialday.org/?p=97

Photo Gallery. (2016). Retrieved May 19, 2017, from http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Photos

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Posted by afortosis@pattenmonument.com at 3:09 PM | 0 comments

Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey Jr


Over the past 4 months, Lou Cella at Timeless Creations along with Patten Monument, have been

working on a statue project for the MLB team Seattle Mariners, a tribute to Ken Griffey Jr. Today

all the efforts made by Patten Monument and Timeless Creations have come to fruition, the statue

is being unveiled. Below is a step by step process of the statue base, from Quarry to Installation.


The granite base was quarried out of Alberton, Georgia.


 Keystone Quarry

Keystone Quarry


The raw block is then taken to the quarries fabrication facilities and cut down to the desired size.

Blocks of granite are generally cut down using large diamond coated saw blades or diamond wire

saws. Often blocks are then polished to reach their final surface texture. On the block used for this

base, polish was unnecessary as we are using a smooth but unpolished surface on the block.

Following the fabrication in Georgia, the block is sent by truck to our facilities in Comstock Park, MI. 


Griffey Granite Block


Once the block arrived here it was unloaded and inspected for flaws and inconsistencies. Around

the time of the arrival our layout department prepares the lettering and wording specified by the

Mariners cut into a rubber stencil. The stencil is applied to the four sides of the base and the

letters are removed to expose the raw stone. The block is moved into our sandblasting room,

where it is shot with abrasive particles that erode the exposed granite (letters) carving into the

stone a permanent tribute.


Rubber Stencil

Sand Blast room


After sandblasting all four sides the rubber stencil is removed and the block is cleaned. We

inspect the work and prepare the block for the test fitting of the statue. Everything fit correctly and

the block and statue are ready to be shipped to Seattle. 


Test Fit


The statue was publicly unveiled Thursday April 13th in front of hundreds of Mariners and Griffey

Jr. Fans. Ken Griffey Jr. and family were on hand for the unveiling.



Ken Griffey with Statue

Artistic Statue

Sand Blasted Side1

Sand Blasted Side2

Griffey Jr

Posing for a Photo


Patten Monument is proud to have worked on this project, to continue our passion in permanent



For more photos and videos of the unveiling visit:


Posted by afortosis@pattenmonument.com at 8:43 AM | 0 comments

Beneath the City of Lights

Catacombs Sign


Beneath the City of Lights


Beneath the City of Lights lies 200 miles of 13th Century tunnels. Tunnels that once bustled with

activity from miners extracting limestone blocks; blocks used to build the major European hub 60

feet above, Paris. These tunnels sat empty into the 1700's, but toward the end of the century 

that would change. These same Tunnels today are one of the most visited tourist sites in Paris, The



By the time the 17th century was closing, Paris had a quickly compounding problem.

The European hub had become highly populated very rapidly. Larger populations inherently

come with a higher quantity of deaths and need for burial.  For centuries, the traditional urban

burial would take place in the churchyard. However, after centuries of burials, placing thousands

of bodies in these landlocked churchyards; there was nowhere else to go except vertical.

Historical descriptions depict some church yards growing by 20 feet vertically against the

outside of the church. By the 1760’s it had become clear that something with burials had to



In 1763, the first step was taken to change how burials were handled. Louis XV declared

no burials were to be allowed within the city limits of Paris. This prevented the problem from

growing, but the existing situation had gone too far.


In the Spring of 1780, a prolonged rainy season caused a horrific event at Les Innocents.

Les Innocents was a 4th century burial ground active for more than 10 decades. It is estimated

that the grounds were the final resting place of an estimated 6 million people. During an

extensive spring rain, a wall surrounding the burial grounds collapse, spilling remains onto

neighboring property. This was the last straw, officials were forced to develop a solution to this

horrific problem. Over the next several years’ officials sought to find a solution. In 1786 With no

other viable options, steps were taken to relocate all bodies from the burial grounds in Paris, to

the limestone tunnels under the city. An estimated 6-7 million unknown skeletal remains and

bodies were moved to what is now known as The Catacombs,  


Today only a small portion of the tunnels are open to the public, but even in that small

percentage of the catacombs you can grasp the magnitude of the project that took place.


Catacombs Sign

Map of the catacombs


Geiling, N. (2014, March 28). Beneath Paris’ City Streets, There’s an Empire of Death Waiting for Tourists. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/paris-catacombs-180950160/

Taylor, T. (2001). FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE: CEMETERY HISTORY. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://www.prairieghosts.com/grave_history.html ISBN: 1892523124 Beyond the Grave

Nechvatal, J. (2016, March 18). Connecting with Humanity in the Paris Catacombs. Retrieved March 22, 2017, from http://hyperallergic.com/284198/connecting-with-humanity-in-the-paris-catacombs/

Waddell, J. (1970, January 01). Haunted Paris Catacombs, the City of Bones Retrieved March 22, 2017, from http://jesslb6.blogspot.com/2015/04/haunted-paris-catacombs-city-of-bones.html


Posted by afortosis@pattenmonument.com at 8:43 AM | 0 comments

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