Woolworth Mausoleum

F.W. Woolworth

April 13, 1852 – April 8, 1919

Franklin Winfield Woolworth developed a sales formula based on attractive displays and reasonable fixed prices. He cunningly realized that pricing articles for sale in increments of 5 cents and 10 cents, which were the most commonly used coins at the time, encouraged sales. Woolworth found that these business practices encouraged impulse buying and generated increased sales and revenues. By the time of his death, there were over 1000 of his “five and dime stores”.  F.W. took his own frugality a little too far: he died of septic poisoning because he didn’t want to pay to see a dentist. Also entombed in the mausoleum is the much-married and terribly unhappy Barbara Hutton (1912-1979) known as the “Poor Little Rich Girl,” who was the granddaughter of F. W. Woolworth and heir to his multimillion dollar estate.

The Barre granite mausoleum was built by Farrington, Gould and Hoagland in 1921. The mausoleum is constructed in the Egyptian Revival style with two Greek sphinxes (Egyptian sphinxes are male) flanking the entrance steps. Two columns with horizontal banding and palm capitals frame the recessed entrance. The exterior walls are slanted in at about 70 degrees since Egyptian architecture relies on massive stone and angles rather than arches to create strength. to create Both the entablature and the lintel above the entrance feature relief carvings of a winged solar disc, an icon that Egyptians believe offered protection to the dead. The mausoleum has a cavetto cornice (curved with arch) and roll molding at its corners and where the façade meets the entablature. The bronze door was designed by sculptor Julius C. Loester and cast by the Roman Bronze Company The interior was renovated by the family in 1941, with Italian marble and large double marble sarcophagus by Evans of Boston. The landscape design by Brinley and Holbrook, who executed plans for the New York Botanic Garden in 1920, “employed a formal scheme to accentuate the solidity and scale of the building, while successfully screening a vista spotted with many imposing mausoleums.”
Photos and text © Douglas Keister Visit Doug’s Author Page

[address cemetery=”The Woodlawn Cemetery” street=”East 233rd Street” city=”Bronx” state=”New York” zip=”10470″]

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