Discuss Detroit Ľ Archives - Beginning January 2007 Ľ Historical Elmwood Cemetery in Danger! ę Previous Next Ľ
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Metaldoctor
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Username: Metaldoctor

Post Number: 79
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 1:32 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

On my visit to the historical Elmwood Cemetery I was shocked to find the following conditions:

































































Do anyone know who I might contact:
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Eric_c
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Username: Eric_c

Post Number: 910
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 1:34 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't know what you are showing us.

Please expand...
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Michmeister
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Username: Michmeister

Post Number: 109
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 1:37 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Iron-gated mausoleums, I suppose.
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Dougw
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Username: Dougw

Post Number: 1548
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 1:42 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Looks reasonably intact by Detroit standards.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 3628
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 1:46 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, but those rusty locks & chains need changing!
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Quinn
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Username: Quinn

Post Number: 1134
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 1:56 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Those look like the mausoleums, not the gate or Cemetary property. I imagine the mausoleum's maintenance is the responsibility of the family or executor/trust or something like that?
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Cambrian
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Username: Cambrian

Post Number: 624
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 1:59 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The main reason bronze is chosen is because it gives off that green patina when it ages. For the chipped stone work and the oxide staining from the locks; It's a good question though, the Cemetary is a privately run entity. The upkeep would be on them.
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Jdkeepsmiling
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Username: Jdkeepsmiling

Post Number: 189
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 2:11 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is normal for any old cemetery. I know ones in Saline that look waaaay worse. Also up by me in Plymouth. Really this is not in bad shape.
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Smogboy
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Username: Smogboy

Post Number: 4480
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 2:44 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Everything seems intact. Is there something we should be looking at? I guess aesthetically seeing iron chains on the gates is a bit unappealing but beyond that, the gates themselves seem to be doing their job still.

Posting pictures and having us guess as to what's wrong is a bit of a stretch considering most of us here aren't technically savvy on metal gates & doors.
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Metaldoctor
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Username: Metaldoctor

Post Number: 80
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 2:56 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

On my visit to the cemetery in December I noted the following conditions on the mausoleums of Elmwood:

a. Tombs are broken-in

b. Evidence of plundering

c. Stolen doors & grill work

d. Temporarily and unprofessional fix-ups (like center bricks and shabby metal where once priceless architectural ornamental metalwork stood)

e. Problem with the masonry

Like very much to be apart of the restoration process of this historical treasure.
(refer to the blog: Save the Great Lost Art https://www.atdetroit.net/forum/messages/5/90037.html?1170114285)















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Dialh4hipster
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Username: Dialh4hipster

Post Number: 1925
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 3:27 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This thread made me wish I were dead.
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Jdkeepsmiling
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Username: Jdkeepsmiling

Post Number: 194
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 3:29 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Agreed Hipster...these dead people live better then I do alive.
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Rjk
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Username: Rjk

Post Number: 616
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 3:31 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So who is considered to be the most famous person buried in Elmwood Cemetery?
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Esp
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Username: Esp

Post Number: 30
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 3:33 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is nothing ... have you seen cemeteries in England? Pack a machete. In England when the gravestones fall over they use them as stepping stones.
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Goat
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Username: Goat

Post Number: 9209
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 4:40 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

At first I was shocked as well but they are in better shape than many cemetaries throughout the world. Still, I think it is pathetic that people will steal from the dead.
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Fareastsider
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Username: Fareastsider

Post Number: 96
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 5:16 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ever notice how the cemetaries in the most blighted areas of Detroit are nicer than the neighborhoods around them. The dead live in a better area than the living in some parts.( I am not trying to knock Detroit this is just an observation) Use this thread to show you to not spend to much on a headstone as it will be gone soon enough
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Patrick
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Username: Patrick

Post Number: 4038
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 5:29 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Seems like wealthy folks back in the day suffered from what I call the King Tut syndrome lol. Maybe they thought their lineage would be around generations later with the funds to keep up their tombs.
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Karenk
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Username: Karenk

Post Number: 27
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 6:07 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There's no respect for the living, why should you expect anyone to respect the dead. The cemeteries and at the families involved (if there are any left) should be ashamed of themselves. I do realize how difficult it is to maintain property of this size, but.....blah, blah, blah.
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Metaldoctor
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Username: Metaldoctor

Post Number: 81
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 6:20 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The first pictures you saw is only whatís left of the pillage, the following pictures showing evidence of break-ins and poorly secured doors are still open and accessible. The original gates and doors were replaced by center blocks and scrappy metal where priceless ornamental art once stood.
Other examples showing corrosion at his end stage of destruction.
We should not orientate ourselves on negative examples instead, be a positive example!!!























































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Metaldoctor
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Username: Metaldoctor

Post Number: 84
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 3:00 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Historic Elmwood Cemetery is the oldest continuously operating, non-denominational cemetery in Detroit.

http://elmwoodhistoriccemetery .org/pages/foundation.html
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Rjlj
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Username: Rjlj

Post Number: 262
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 3:41 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The parallels between Detroit and a 3rd world country are remarkable. You canít go much lower than grave robbing.
As for the up keep of that cemetery, I am sure the money has been squandered.
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Quinn
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Username: Quinn

Post Number: 1147
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 4:11 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Great pictures! Thanks!

I live right around the corner and I've never been...also not a huge graveyard/cemetery fan. Maybe I should talk a walk through there though.

Would be great to arrange Halloween tours through there though. Why not? They do it in New Orleans, Charleston and Savannah.
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Metaldoctor
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Username: Metaldoctor

Post Number: 90
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 5:05 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Please note that I did not intend to discredit, downgrade or embarrass anyone, I love Detroit and my heritage and I feel that if I donít that the art and craftsmanship would lost forever, therefore prompting me to post pictures and text of the problems that I see. Architectural ornamental metal work is my lifetime conviction and I stand ready for twenty years to make Detroit a better place. Again my most sincere apologies to anyone I have offended.

Sincerely,

The Metal-Doctor
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Karl
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Username: Karl

Post Number: 6243
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 5:43 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Metaldoctor, your post is a breath of fresh air - Detroit needs more like you who:

1. Notice there's a problem

2. Want to help

3. Are talented in that area of expertise

4. Wish to improve Detroit

I hope you utilize your efforts in areas potential Detroiters will see. Too often many folks are calloused, bitter, lazy, clannish or otherwise. You seem to be none of those. While these grand cemeteries are worthy of maintenance, it is first the responsibility of the families to care for their loved one's resting places. I hope you will center your efforts on things in your area of expertise that the living - those places that the living - both Detroiters and potential Detroiters - use daily.
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Irish_mafia
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Username: Irish_mafia

Post Number: 742
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 7:25 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Good post.

We have seen similar vandalism to our mausoleum in Mt. Elliot. Beautiful Stain leaded-glass window was stolen from the back of it.

We now have a non-descript translucent white window in the back.
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Eric_w
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Username: Eric_w

Post Number: 23
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 12:40 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think cemeteries are wasted space-I'm for cremation 100%. I never saw the purpose of using land to store dead people. Just think if everyone was cremated, then there wouldn't be any cemeteries falling apart and lot of good land wouldn't be used up.
I'm not trying to be mean spirited but the folks in those spots are dead & if you believe in the hereafter they're in a better place anyway.
Disclaimer: There is no reason for vandalism & neglect- if a business has the responsibility of maintaining a cemetery they should,same as other places.
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Irish_mafia
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Username: Irish_mafia

Post Number: 743
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 3:22 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Most of the residents in our mausoleum are cremated Eric. That's how we are continuing to fit in further generations.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 513
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 3:49 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't know too much about cemeteries, but what I was wondering, is at some point they close, right? People pay a flat fee to be buried there, then when the cemetery runs out of room and the money runs out, I would have to guess that it would close down. Generally, is not any cemetery that is like maybe over a few hundred years old still being maintained as much as the day it opened? Eventually every cemetery stops being maintained at some point, right?
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Ray1936
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Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 1141
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 3:50 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Eric, with genealogy being my hobby, I totally disagree with your theory of cemeteries being wasted space for cremains. Before I got stung by that addictive pastime, I might have shared your view. However, there is no greater thrill than to hunt down a cemetery where your ancestors are buried and to find their grave marker.

Cremains buried with a marker in place are just as good. One knows you are visiting the site of the deceased's final atoms. Besides, when one is embalmed and buried, the remains are nothing but a few scattered bones after a century anyway.

As an example, imagine the tremendous thrill I felt when I finally stood at the gravesite of my gt gt gt gt grandfather, Silvanus Graves (1729-1801), in the Old Southwest Cemetery, Killingworth, CT.


grave
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Jimaz
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Username: Jimaz

Post Number: 1567
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 4:26 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't think the United States is old enough or small enough to have a problem allocating land to cemeteries. You might have to look to European catacombs for examples of that problem.

The cemeteries in New Orleans are unique though. The water table is too high to bury people so they're all put into above-ground tombs. I could be wrong but I believe when they need room they shove the remains of a previous tenent down a space in the back of the tomb provided for that purpose. That may sound odd but, well, it's New Orleans. They have jazz funerals. :-)

When I go, I want a tombstone that will make people burst into uncontrollable laughter.
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Bob_cosgrove
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Username: Bob_cosgrove

Post Number: 467
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 4:51 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Dear Metaldoctor,

Your photos are not recent vandalism, which all inner-city cemeteries have unfortunately in this day of metal theivery. Often the upkeep of memorials is the responsiblitiy of the family to a large extent.

This isn't to say cemetery vandalism isn't a current and reoccuring property in all cemteries, not just Elmwood.

As an historian, I've been involved with Elmwood for a number of years and have always been impressed with their management to the extent my late wife was buried there in 1999.

You might check with the Elmwood Cemetery office manager to see what he or she has to say.

Bob Cosgrove
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Neilr
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Username: Neilr

Post Number: 451
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 5:19 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

All I know is that if the family of Albert L. Stephens ever decides to condominiumize their family's vault at Elmwood, I want to to be in for a 12" by 12" space. I'm not too concerned about the view from my spot; but I would prefer it to be several feet off the floor.
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Ray1936
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Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 1142
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 6:35 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jimaz....sorta like this one?

grave
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Jimaz
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Username: Jimaz

Post Number: 1569
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 7:05 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ray1936, yeah, like that only funnier. Maybe something like "Blame it on me. I'm already dead." or "Still dead, still voting!" or "Get a life!" Naw. Still not funny enough.

(There are a whole bunch of these all over the internet.)
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Metaldoctor
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Username: Metaldoctor

Post Number: 94
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 11:29 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hello Bob

The security starts with the property barriers and entrance gates. The original installation had two functions: one was visually which was pleasing to the eye and crafted in an artistic manner. And two the function was a true physical barrier. Those were crafted out of wrought iron and over time corroded away and replaced with at the time available other metals. Modern security like heat sensors, motion detectors, cameras and other security measures should be employed to grantee that the next generation knows their heritage. Not to mention that Elmwood has a unique collection of art and architecture which spans over centuries, and serves as inspiration and study for everyone. I donít want to diminish the good work that dedicate people such as yourself are doing, and no one is able to change the past, we only can work on the future by finding the best possible solution to preserve our heritage.

The Metal-Doctor


http://www.findarticles.com/p/ articles/mi_m0NTQ/is_2005_Oct_ 27/ai_n15966373/pg_6

http://www.pbs.org/opb/history detectives/educators/class_sto ne.html

http://www.pbs.org/previews/ce metery_special/
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Krawlspace
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Username: Krawlspace

Post Number: 295
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 5:03 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Metaldoctor:

Want to help?
Donate some money!
Become a Friend of Elmwood.
Or donate your skills as a craftsman to help repair the damage.
While you may not know it, Elmwood has vastly improved from the days when the front gates were open 24 hours a day about 15 years ago. The cemetery is still privately run, funded solely by new internments and the "Perpetual Care" accounts.
For an inner city cemetery, especially one which faces the difficulties of Detroit, it is in good shape.
I would also add that many of the family crypts are regarded as private property, and fairly off limits to changes by the cemetery staff. Unless Perpetual Care was established, or the crypt is opened to trespass, the cemetery has no reason to remove locks, repair hinges, etc. The bulk of their budget goes to land maintenance and the adding of new burial space by filling in roads, or by adding mausoleum space, such as the relatively new public plaza, next to the original public mausoleum. (Which was rendered fairly useless when standard casket sizes were enlarged at the turn of the century)
The curator, Chauncy Miller, in my opinion has made astounding progress in securing and improving the cemetery with a strained budget, crumbling infrastructure, and a city with very little mainstream interest in preservation.
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Jrvass
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Username: Jrvass

Post Number: 35
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 9:48 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Metaldoctor,

This also occurs at Woodlawn (or did under the prior ownership). Homeless drag grave blankets to the bronze doors and set them on fire to heat the doors and stay warmer, longer. I spent a portion of a summer when I was unemployed researching various methods of fixing the burn damage on our family's 2 mausoleums. Everything from freeze-drying the doors with dry-ice to "pop" the carbon (burn) stains off to taking the doors off and hand refinishing. I should have kept a copy of my research in my files, otherwise my Dad has it in his files.

He finally decided to do nothing because every solution would have changed the patina or was "risky" and needed to be tested.

Thankfully we haven't had our stain glass windows broken, or the glass on the doors.

I did find 2 places that will cut tha flat 4" mausoleum door keys. The place in Detroit is more expensive than the place in Clarkston, but they do a better job, IMO. Now the cemetery has a set, my Dad has a set, I have a couple sets, and Dad has spares.

To the others, a little cemetery history... they used to be considered inner-city parks where people could go and picnic on Sunday, tend the flowers at their family's graves, and enjoy the peacefulness.

I can't speak for Elmwood, but at Woodlawn their was a perpetual care fund set up for each mausoleum in the 1920's of $10,000. That was to pay for things like tuck-pointing the mortar, trimming the bushes, etc. Part of the cost of the land was to go into the cemeteries general perpetual care fund. Cutting the lawn, keeping the lights and heat on in the main office, roads, water for the plants, maintenance peolple salaries, etc.

We replenished that trust fund money in 1990 when it was discovered that the money was "gone". Ripped off by a previous owner.

Currently, their is an investigation/suit by AG Cox of the current owner of Woodlawn and about 15 other Detroit area cemeteries for the "loaning" of perpetual care funds to the current owner's other businesses.

If anyone wants further information, contact me by private email at jr vass @ comcast (dot) net

James

PS. Bornman is across the road from the Dodge Bros. Why does moss grow on the backside of the Dodge Bros. mausoleum? Yes, it is the north side, but moss can't grow on marble without food. It is improper ventilation which cause the coffin gasses to leak through the cracks in the mortar! Yuck!

Bornman, my gr, gr, Grandfather, used to print catalogues for Fords and the DM Ferry Seed Co.
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Jrvass
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Username: Jrvass

Post Number: 36
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 9:55 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I thought in New Orleans, they dropped the people down a space as new people were added, until they were just bones then they mixed them together with the older bones.

"Newsflash!: Plane crashes into cemetery! Tens of thousands found dead! News at 11."

James
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Metaldoctor
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Username: Metaldoctor

Post Number: 101
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 2:49 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thank you James I will contact you.
Also here is my e-mail address if any one wants to get in touch with me direct.
cnielbock@sbcglobal.net

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