Obelisks and Columns

Historically obelisks and columns were used to commemorate the departed; however, the cost has almost eradicated this form of memorial. They stand in cemeteries as markers of the dead and graveyard art history. Obelisks and columns have three distinct sections: the base, the shaft (centre), and the capital (top).

An obelisk is defined as a thin, tapering monument with four sides that end in a pyramid shaped capital.


Obelisks are also created with a rounded capital known as a truncated obelisk, and a cross shaped capital known as a vaulted obelisk.

Dearest we love you no tongue can tell
How much we loved you and how well
God loved you too and He thought best
To take you home with Him to rest. – 1887

Columns originally signified a man or woman of noble birth. A column has a rounded shaft with a smooth surface usually surmounted by an urn capital, but if the top is flat it signifies that a person’s life was cut short.

A column with a fluted shaft is referred to as a Greek column.


A square column, or rectangular in shape, is capped with an urn capital.

Puslinch_Crown (5)


A monument with two columns often supporting an arch is common on Masonic graves.


A broken column denotes the grave of a child or young person whose life was cut short. It represents sorrow and grief. It may occasionally be girded with flowers.

A column that is draped denotes an early death and a life cut short.


A pilaster column is a square or rectangular shaft with a flat top or capped with an urn. It often flanks a central block with four inscription faces. In architecture, a pilaster is a solely ornamental column form that does not support a structure.

Joy after sorrow
Calm after blast
Rest after weariness
Sweet rest at last. 

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