Monday, February 20, 2006

The Avery Pyramids

Several miles from the unincorporated town of Avery, in Monroe County, is the Hickory Grove Cemetery. It's aptly named, because there are some ancient and stately hickory trees there, along with many monuments to proud pioneers of the past.

There is also a trio of strange, shoddily constructed pyramids.

These pyramids were built by a legendary figure in Monroe County history named Axel Peterson. I don't know a fraction of the stories the old-timers tell about Peterson, but I've heard a few.

According to the legends, he won a printing press in a poker game. He moved to Avery during the heyday of the coal mining days here in the area (the famous Smoky Hollow #1 was located southeast of Avery).

With this printing press, he published a "newspaper" called the Avery Boomer. I have searched, but I've never seen an issue of this publication. But let me tell you, if the stories are true, this man was ahead of his time. Apparently his journalistic style rather resembled that of certain bloggers of today. Let's just say he freely shared his opinions on elected officials, his neighbors and his neighbors' children. On the front page.

As he came near his time of death, he set about building a lasting memorial to himself. He constructed the three pyramids at Hickory Grove Cemetery and made plans to be buried in the "Great Pyramid," along with a friend.

When he died, his family did not bury him there. His friend moved away. But the pyramids remain.

Here is a cool set of photos I found by a photographer named Ethan Miller. I don't know Mr. Miller, but he's really captured some great shots of this Monroe County oddity.

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