Colton Mausoleum


The Colton Mausoleum is a fine example of the eclecticism of designer Fulgenzio Seregni. Seregni, a native of Milan, Italy, billed himself as a “designer of artworks of a memorial nature”. He designed mausoleums all over the United States. Here in Oakland’s Mountain View Cemetery, in addition to the Colton mausoleum, he designed two Gothic Revival mausoleums and numerous monuments.

For the Colton mausoleum he chose a basic Greek Revival Temple style with Corinthian columns and pilasters complete with twin sphinxes to guard the Colton remains. Although sphinxes and Greek Revival Temples are considered pagan architectural forms they continue to be among the most popular types of funerary architecture.

Mrs. David D. Colton had this mausoleum built for her husband following his death in 1878. Colton was legal counsel to the “big four” of transcontinental railroad fame, sometimes known as the big four and one-half with the addition of Colton. When Colton died, his wife tried to collect on the shares of the railroad that she now owned and the railroad gave her a very low valuation of those shares. She sued and the resulting trial, which she did not win, nevertheless exposed the wide spread corruption and political bribery exercised by the railroad.

As a statement of her continuing grief, she had the mausoleum built in a location that would be plainly visible from her Nob Hill residence across the bay in San Francisco.
Text and photo © Douglas Keister Visit Doug’s Author Page

[address cemetery=”Mountain View Cemetery” street=”” city=”Oakland” state=”California” zip=”94611″]

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