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Herman the Diver

Everything about Herman Wolter’s statue in Fernwood Cemetery outside of Philly seems calculated to raise a smile. His huge fin-de-siecle moustache and goatee, the fact that he’s staring with great dignity at a huge water tower across the street, and most of all, his unusual outfit. Wolter chose to be remembered as a figure ripped straight from the pages of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, in a deep-sea diver’s suit wrapped around with breathing tubes, a facsimile of his brass helmet at his feet. Details about this heroic-looking man are scarce, except for the fact that he died in 1901.

We don’t even know whether he ever was a diver, though we think it would be more fun if he wasn’t. Either way, hats (and helmets) off to Herman for wearing his sub-aquatic gear with all the dignity of the Edwardian gentleman he was.

You can read about all of Pennsylvania’s other creepy crypts, unusual interments storied tombstones in Weird Pennsylvania.

Weird Pennsylvania

Dear Mark and Mark,

I am emailing you in regards to the statue of Herman Wolter, the diver in Fernwood Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA. Our library has a collection of Wolters materials, including a scrapbook, photographs, advertisements and newspaper clippings.

As for Herman, he was a diver in the Philadelphia and Delaware River region. He was one of the forefathers in underwater exploration and diving. I want to thank you for putting his gravestone on your site; he was an interesting individual and his grave marker is well-known in the
area.

Sincerely
Megan Good
Director, J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library
Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia
www.phillyseaport.org

 

 

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