Gurnee Mausoleum

This marble mausoleum is the permanent home of a number of members of the Gurnee family. The most noted resident is Walter S. Gurnee. Gurnee was born in Haverstraw, New York, then the family moved to Detroit. In 1835 he started a business in Detroit then moved to the booming city of Chicago where he got into the leather business, becoming one of the first tanners in Chicago. In 1843 he founded and installed himself as president of the Chicago Hide and Leather Company and later as a partner of the Gurnee and Matteson (a saddlery and leather firm) where he amassed his fortune. He became active in a number of trade organizations and soon thereafter became president of the Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad. Gurnee served as mayor of Chicago from 1851-1853.

He moved to New York in 1863 and soon became one of the city’s movers and shakers, in the banking a business world. When he died at age 91 he was serving as the treasurer and a director of the Shelby Iron Company, and served on the board of directors of the American Smelting and Refining Company, American Surety Company, Carbon Steel Company, Chrysolite Silver Mining Company, Clifton Iron Company, Pittsburg, Lisbon and Western Railroad and Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company. He was also a member of a number of community organizations including the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Gurnee’s home of 5th Avenue in Manhattan was a site of frequent entertainments and gala events. It’s only fitting that the family mausoleum is full of activity and life. There are allegorical statues as well as statues of Mr. and Mrs. Gurnee and their daughters. A number of intricately carved marble busts of Gurnee family members grace the mausoleum’s interior. At the rear of the mausoleum are two allegorical statues. The statues and the mausoleum’s interior all crafted of marble.
Text and photo © Douglas Keister Visit Doug’s Author Page

[address cemetery=”Sleepy Hollow Cemetery” street=”540 N. Broadway” city=”Sleepy Hollow” state=”New York” zip=”10591″]

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