Glenwood Cemetery's Chainsaw Sculptures – Washington, D.C. - Atlas Obscura

Glenwood Cemetery's Chainsaw Sculptures

The towering figures were created from the cemetery's fallen old-growth trees. 


Glenwood Cemetery is a historic Washington D.C. cemetery some know for its opulent Victorian monuments and infamous residents: It is the resting place of George Atzerodt, a co-conspirator for Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and the murderer Frederic De Frouville. But amid the graves of its notorious and lesser-known inhabitants, some larger-than-life chainsaw art rises from the ground.

Many of the trees within Glenwood are over 200 years old. When high winds caused some of the old-growth trees to topple, the cemetery contacted a professional chainsaw artist to turn the wooden remnants into works of art, and give new life to the longtime living residents of a place so heavily associated with death. The artist, Dayton Scoggins, used four oak trees to create the unique wooden sculptures. The largest of them stretches to 30 feet tall.

The wooden carvings found in Glenwood include creatures not commonly found in your average cemetery, like a dragon and a saber tooth tiger surrounded by woodland creatures. Two of the sculptures depict angels, which are are admittedly a more conventional fit for their surroundings. Supposedly, the artist drew inspiration from passages in the Bible’s Book of Revelation.

Know Before You Go

The statues are located behind the cemetery’s Romanesque Revival mortuary chapel.

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September 14, 2017

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