Mausoleum in Saline, Michigan Celebrates 100th Anniversary

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The Oakwood Cemetery mausoleum, built a century ago, is celebrating the milestone with a special ceremony last Sunday, according to the Saline Reporter. The structure has become one of Saline, Michigan’s historic landmarks and houses the remains of dozens of individuals interred throughout the last century.

The mausoleum dates back to 1913, when the Saline Observer reported that J.W. Flowers of Toledo, Ohio had purchased land at the Oakwood Cemetery in order to construct a brand new mausoleum. The cemetery handled the mausoleum design and construction, while Flowers was tasked with the sale of available mausoleum chambers. The mausoleum is comprised of 88 burial chambers, with a South Wall that holds 44 families and a North Wall that holds another 23 families. A number of local residents are interred within the mausoleum with their spouses or family members, the oldest of whom, John Hull, was born in 1842.

Clergy and religious leaders came together to choose an emblem for the entrance to the mausoleum prior to its opening, and they eventually settled on “In Hope.” Construction on the mausoleum is thought to have been completed in 1914 or 1915, and construction materials included a cobbled stone exterior, marble base and flooring, copper doors, and a covered area for final services to be held. The mausoleum has undergone a number of renovations over the years, in 1971, 1982, and, most recently, in 1993.

Mausoleums Re-Popularized

At the time, mausoleum burial was considered a fashionable and more desirable alternative to ground burials, with the Saline Observer describing it thusly:

“And do you not think if one of your loved ones should be taken away it would be hard to see that loved and hallowed form lowered into a grave and covered with desecrating earth… to know that it is to remain there, buried in the damp and the cold, the mortal clay compelled to share all the physical states of the surrounding earth, a prey to damp mold and decay; this seems a veritable knifethrust in the heart of one who is already bowed with indescribable grief.”

The description above reflects a distinct shift in preference from ground burials, which evoked “damp,” “cold,” and “decay,” to interment within a warm, protective, home-like structure – a place where loved ones could attend a final service sheltered from the harsh elements and pay their respects in peace. Thus, in the early part of the 20th Century, an affinity for mausoleum burials was born and has continued to this day.

Joining a host of historic and architecturally important mausoleums throughout the country, the Oakwood Cemetery mausoleum is another important artifact that connects our modern world with the lives and stories of the past and, as such, it will continue to be treasured for centuries to come.

How will future generations remember us? We have opportunities to answer that question ourselves when designing and constructing a Forever Legacy private mausoleum. Call (800) 298-4188 for a free consultation today.

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