Dekalb County's Mausoleums Unique to Area

By Eric Olson

September 16, 2011 Updated Sep 16, 2011 at 1:44 PM EDT

AUBURN, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--It’s not where you’d expect to find an important historic building but here it is in Auburn’s Woodlawn Cemetery, the Auburn Mausoleum, final resting spot for dozens of DeKalb County’s most famous citizens, and part of a popular trend that swept this country a hundred years ago.

It’s called the American Mausoleum Movement and it began in 1907 when an Ohio mausoleum company began marketing its products as secure and civilized alternatives to common graves.

“So basically a lot of these promoters went to the principle town in each county,” says historian John Bry, “and marketed and promoted the idea of building a community mausoleum in their location.”

The salesmen struck gold in DeKalb County, four local towns, Butler, Waterloo, Auburn and Garrett built community mausoleums. This is the one in Garrett’s Calvery Cemetery. Crypts were offered for sale by subscription and when enough were sold the structure would be built, just the way condos are marketed today. Auburn’s mausoleum, built in 1917 is a great example with stained glass windows and marble interior, its residents a who’s who in DeKalb County history. Like Dr. Lida Powers Leasure, the first woman elected to public office in the state of Indiana.

“Women didn’t have the power to vote yet,” says Bry, “so in order for her to take her office the state had to pass special legislation to allow her to go ahead and take her office.”

Henry Scisinger was a Garrett railroad engineer..his son Aaron, the first DeKalb County soldier to die in World War One. Roy Faulkner was the last president of the Auburn Automobile Company and a founder of what would become the ACD Festival. Historian John Bry is working to get DeKalb County’s mausoleums placed on the National Register of Historic Places to help preserve them, and honor the folks inside.

“They are why we are here,” he says. “They served their community they built our communities and now it’s our job to make sure that their memories are continued to be honored.”

Eric Olson reporting, out in Your Country.

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