de la Montanya Mausoleum

Dark and brooding, the de la Montanya mausoleum is in a state of arrested decay. The mausoleum, designed in 1909 by noted funerary architect Bernard J.S. Cahill, is constructed of red sandstone and originally contained three Tiffany stained glass windows. Cahill modeled his three stage Spanish Gothic Tower on a cathedral in Burgos, Spain. Pinnacles, crockets, sprockets and gargoyles protrude from every surface making the mausoleum look more like an elaborate confection than a home for the dead.

Like many sandstone structures, it seems to attract ivy like a magnet. The ivy grows into the cracks and crevices of the stone and slowly forces the joints apart. The problem is compounded in structures like this, which have a variety of surfaces for the ivy to attach itself.

As if the damage from the ivy wasn’t enough, an earthquake in the late 1950’s destroyed the Tiffany windows and seriously damaged the structure itself.

James de la Montanya (1819-1909) was one of many men who struck it rich during the California Gold Rush. Like most of the men who made their fortune during that time he made his money not by digging for gold, but by selling supplies to the men who did the digging. In addition to supplying the 49er’s with hardware and other materials de la Montanya had a prosperous horse breeding business.
Photo and text © Douglas Keister Visit Doug’s Author Page

[address cemetery=”Cypress Lawn Memorial Park” street=”1370 El Camino Real” city=”Colma” state=”California” zip=”94014″]

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