Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Crumbling Mausoleum--Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina

Magnolia Cemetery
70 Cunnington Boulevard
Charleston, South Carolina


First off, forgive the long period of not posting, I've started a new job and my time for writing and research as well as visiting cemeteries has been cut significantly.

I'm on vacation this week and have had the chance to visit a few marvelous cemeteries. In Charleston I've revisited Magnolia Cemetery and Bethany Cemetery right next door. Walking along one of the drives in Magnolia I encountered the White Mausoleum. It's located on a row of marvelous mausolea including the wonderful, Egyptian-revival styles Vanderhorst mausoleum. I didn't see a date on the structure and the tablet inside doesn't appear inscribed, if it is, I didn't venture too far inside to read it, for obvious reasons. Just guesstimating, I would say the mausoleum is at least mid-19th century, possibly not long after the cemetery's founding in 1850. Sadly, the building is crumbling.

The mausoleum was constructed of brick that was faced with stone. Some of that stone has fallen away to reveal the handmade bricks underneath. Perhaps the most interesting detail revealed by the deterioration of this monument is the chamber underneath the floor. At some point in recent history the floor of the mausoleum has collapsed revealing the actual burial chamber. The chamber consists of a series of stone shelves for the placement of the family's coffins. The shelves all appeared to be bare, much to my morbid curiosity's disappointment. Perhaps the mausoleum was never used or the contents of those shelves has been stolen or removed. The condition of this mausoleum is both saddening and fascinating.

White Mausoleum. Photo 2011, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights
reserved.

Photo 2011, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
One of the crumbling corners. Photo 2011, by Lewis Powell IV,
all rights reserved. 
A different angle showing the marsh the mausoleum faces. Photo,
2011, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
Just inside. Photo 2011, by Lewis Powell IV, all
rights reserved.
Looking down into the burial chamber. Photo 2011, by Lewis
Powell IV, all rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. I can just imagine this mausoleum, or a group of similar mausoleums, featured on Hoarders. "Betty-Sue has taken over the family crypts with her hoard!" And yeah, that big team of therapists and junk removers come in and help her organise the crypts.

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