2009.11.04 The old cemetery mausoleum 2009.11.04

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

When I look at the photograph of the old mausoleum at Oak Grove Cemetery, I’m just amazed. It was an enormous structure. It must have been very impressive.

According to the Morenci’s history book, it was built in the south part of the cemetery and many families were interred there and “the visitors rooms were well furnished with sturdy wood chairs and tables.”

Now, it seems like such an odd concept to inter families within the rooms of a large stone building. Nearly everyone ends up under ground, and only a few smaller private mausoleums are standing in Oak Grove.

Most everything I’d ever want to know about Morenci’s mausoleum is included in a front page story from the Observer dated Aug. 14, 1908.

The slogan on the front page of the paper reads “A Good Paper in a Good Town,” and just to keep it friendly with our neighbors to the south, a second slogan reads “On the Line of Two Great States.”

This was quite a few years after the State Line Observer was changed back to the Morenci Observer.

Bob Price loaned this 1908 copy to me and what a gift it was.

There was obviously an effort to make this mausoleum the best around. It was compared to one that was recently dedicated in Shelby, Ohio, and Morenci’s promised to “Eclipse in Splendor and Stability” the Shelby building.

Morenci’s version was built with corrugated and pure white stone to surpass the finest Bedford stone.

And get this:

The water-proof compound used in the cement is another important factor, showing the determination of the builder to give the structure in Oak Grove cemetery the benefit of every improvement and discovery known to cement building.”

In Shelby, there were only three outside supporting columns. In Morenci, there were five and they extended outward twice as far as Shelby.

The entire article seems to give off a “nyaaa, nyaaa, nyaaa” flavor toward Shelby and its new mausoleum.

Much was written about ventilation. Each crypt included two pipes to allow “the gases of the body to escape.” One pipe was for heavy, foul gases that led underground; the other to convey lighter gases up through the roof.

The roof included a beautiful domed arch and skylight. There were copper eaves and flushing, while Shelby used inferior materials.

There was a well-ventilated rest room for ladies and a receiving vault where bodies could be kept for as long as desired before placement in the crypt.

Finally, there was 1,700 square feet of handsome marble interior finish, furnished by the local dealer, Fauver & Marshall.

Beauty and durability, an ornament to Oak Grove cemetery—at least until 1954. Forty-six years after it was constructed, it came down. State officials condemned the building. It was demolished after someone had the task of removing the remains from the crypts and burying them in the ground.

When I read about the marble interior—the very beautiful marble interior—a light, likely fueled by body gases, went off above my head.

I quickly called my father and asked where the marble slabs came from that are used in the back office to set up printing jobs. I knew what he was about to say: From the old mausoleum.

The bodies went into the ground, but a few pieces of the former beauty live on here at the Observer.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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