Woodmen of the World was a fraternal society formed by the conveniently named Joseph Cullen Root, who wanted to form a group that would "clear away problems of financial security for its members," in a time before Social Security, when life insurance could actually be a threat to people's lives. How do you expand your membership and ensure members pay their dues? Lodge initiation devices, initially created by Ed DeMoulin and his brothers, Erastus and Ulysses, whose workshop became known locally as the Goat Factory. And tree-trunk shaped headstones were a nice benefit for members who had passed. They're parts of Goat Rituals and Tree-Trunk Gravestones: The Peculiar History of Life Insurance [Via Presurfer] [more inside]
The gutters in San Francisco's Buena Vista Park are made out of old headstones. Placed by the WPA program back in the late 1930s, the stones are said to be broken headstones and markers from unclaimed graves.