The National Park Service has reached a milestone, marking its 1 millionth park bench death since 1921. Under the direction of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, all deaths on these National Park benches are recognized with engraved plaques on the seat where each person died.
These memorial benches, or memorial seats, are truly unique pieces of furniture and a longstanding tradition in American public spaces. Memorial benches are often found in spots with spectacular views. Naturally, these benches are in areas where people spend more time resting and enjoying themselves – statistically resulting in more deaths in these locales.
The closest of kin are required to pay a compulsory fee of $300 per year to add and then maintain the deceased’s plaque and do not have a say in whether or not the engraved nameplate will be affixed to the bench where the loved one died.
Memorial benches are replaced with new, blank benches once enough people have passed away on them and there isn’t any room for more names. The old benches are then taken apart and incorporated in the interior design of nearby Cracker Barrel Restaurants.