Mencken Family Grave Site 2016

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This is the Mencken Family Grave Site as of January 22, 2016. The 2016 Memorial Service (conducted January 31) could not be held grave side because the cemetery’s road to the site was under snow and was, instead, conducted from the Funeral Home’s parking lot.

Mr Mencken’s ashes are buried under a ledger-style stone visible in the right side of the photograph. An unknown admirer left a patriotic decoration of an American flag with red, with and blue flowers by it. The decoration reminds Mencken Society member JD of the Saturday Night Club’s song “I am a 100% American! Oh yes, I am! Goddam.”

Mencken Family Grave Site 2016-01

Mencken Family Grave Site 2016-01

Patriotic decoration added to Mr Menken's grave stone.

Patriotic decoration added to Mr Menken’s grave stone.

Mencken Graveside Memorial 2016

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On Sunday, January 31, Oleg Panczenko and four attendees, one a boy of 5 (not pictured), assembled at the parking lot of the Loudon Park Funeral home to remember Mr Mencken. The road to the Mencken Family grave-site was impassable as groundskeepers gave priority to clearing the roads for scheduled funerals.

The ceremony was longer than usual, running from 2:05 to 2:15. The warm weather was conducive to longer oration. Mr Panczenko spoke on Mr Mencken’s views of the Confederacy, the South, and the “Lost Cause” in connection with Baltimore’s steps towards removal of four historical monuments. A slightly revised copy of his talk, “Monumental Disagreement” is available as a pdf file.

Afterwards, the group retired, as usual, to Spirits West County Club on Wilkens Ave.

Attendees at the Mencken Memorial Service 2016-01-31

Attendees John Dausch, SJ, and CM at the Mencken Memorial Service 2016-01-31

Mencken Graveside Memorial 2016

The 11th Annual Service will be held Sunday, January 24, 2016 at 2:00 PM at the Mencken Family Grave site, Loudon Park Cemetery, 3620 Wilkens Avenue, Baltimore. Signs will point the way to the grave-site. After the brief memorial service attendees are invited, as usual, to the Spirits West Country Club, 2601 Wilkens Avenue. Check this site for weather-related updates.

Loudon Park Cemetery: enter at 3620 Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD 21229. Note: the Frederick Ave entrance is closed. Enter through the Wilkens Ave entrance.

Location of grave: N 39° 16.693′ W 76° 40.683′ (39.278217°, -76.678050°)

For GPS users: Google maps recognizes geographic coordinates and knows the cemetery’s roads. Note that the Frederick Ave entrance is closed. Split your trip into two parts: leg 1 will be from your origin to 3620 Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD; leg 2 will be 3620 Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD to 39.278217°, -76.678050°.

Spirits West Country Club: 2601 Wilkens Ave (Cor. Millington Ave), Baltimore, MD 21223. (Make a left turn from Loudon Park onto Wilkens Ave. and drive 1.6 miles. Spirits West will be on your right at the end of Baltimores’s longest block of row houses and across the way from St Benedict’s Church.)

Mencken's Grave-site

Map to Mencken’s Grave-site

The Free Lance Rides Again

On the 8th of May, We begin daily publication (with the exclusion of Sundays) of Mr Mencken’s Free Lance columns, each column posted on its its anniversary date.

Mr Mencken produced this column six days a week for four-and-a-half years. In the first years (1911-1914), he took on political and other follies of Baltimore City and such fusty material is likely to be of interest only to very hard-core Baltimoreans. Mencken becomes far more interesting to the general reader after the eruption of the First World War when he is a severe corrective to British and American war propaganda.

The title of the column was at first “The World In Review”. That lasted one day, for the following day, the 9th, “The Free Lance” was affixed at the top.

“The Free Lance” was placed on page six, in the eight column, a space which, beforehand was filled by any type of article. Interestingly. the item the day preceding the appearance of “The World In Review” was a piece by Mencken on “Alcohol”

Thanks are due to S. T. Joshi for allowing us to make use of his corpus of OCR scanned Mencken material, Oleg Panczenko for proofreading and HTML5 markup, and Marion E. Rodgers for sharing material from her scholarly Mencken collection.

2015 Mencken Graveside Memorial Service

The 10th Annual Service will be held Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 2:00 PM at the Mencken Family Grave site, Loudon Park Cemetery, 3620 Wilkens Avenue, Baltimore. Signs will point the way to the grave-site. After the brief memorial service attendees are invited, as usual, to the Spirits West Country Club, 2601 Wilkens Avenue.

Loudon Park Cemetery: enter at 3620 Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD 21229. Note: the Frederick Ave entrance is closed. Enter through the Wilkens Ave entrance.

Location of grave: N 39° 16.693′ W 76° 40.683′ (39.278217°, -76.678050°)

For GPS users: Google maps recognizes geographic coordinates and knows the cemetery’s roads. Note that the Frederick Ave entrance is closed. Split your trip into two parts: leg 1 will be from your origin to 3620 Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD; leg 2 will be 3620 Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD to 39.278217°, -76.678050°.

Spirits West Country Club: 2601 Wilkens Ave (Cor. Millington Ave), Baltimore, MD 21223. (Make a left turn from Loudon Park onto Wilkens Ave. and drive 1.6 miles. Spirits West will be on your right at the end of Baltimores’s longest block of row houses and across the way from St Benedict’s Church.)

Mencken's Grave-site

Map to Mencken’s Grave-site

Calvin K. Kobsa, 1927-2014

Society member Calvin Kern Kobsa died at the age of eighty-six at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson on May 10, 2014.

Calvin, the son of Charles J. Kobsa, a piano maker and tuner, and Marie Kern Kobsa, was born in Baltimore July 31, 1927. He was graduated from Polytechnic Institute and earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. After serving in the Coast Guard, where he attained the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade, he established his own architectural firm in 1960. He performed both residential and commercial work but his specialty was historic properties. A personal interest of his was old motion-picture theaters.

He was always in a good humor, always ready with an anecdote, and always ready to assist. He drew and painted and possessed the Baltimorean’s love of his City and also the Baltimorean’s love of reminiscing about the “old days”

In addition to being a member of the Society, Calvin was also a member of the Friends of the H. L. Mencken House. For the latter organization he produced a set of valuable architectural plans with detailed annotations directing how the Mencken House should be renovated. For several years would set up his boyhood model train set at the House during the annual Christmastime open house.

Calvin Kern Kobsa is interred in the Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery, Owings Mills, Baltimore County, MD.