Oakland Mausoleum, standing sentinel at the top of the hill at Oakland Cemetery, is being restored.
The classic granite building cradles the remains of several hundred Warren residents who put their posthumous care in the hands of the grounds' overseers, the local Independent Order of Fellows (IOOF). In its continuing efforts to tend and preserve the crypts, graves and grounds, the IOOF has devoted several thousand dollars to restoring the majestic tomb.
Fiske Associates of Erie - a third-generation restoration and preservation company - will begin work on the mausoleum this month with a long list of tasks: restoring the 10 stained glass windows, repairing and replacing the slate roof and gutters, cleaning and pointing the exterior granite masonry and generally bringing the building back to its original splendor.
In the photo at left, from left, are Fiske Associates sales and project manager Bill Smith; president Dana Fiske; and Oakland Cemetery board president Don Howe; board vice president Ed Peterson; and board treasurer Bud Nordin.
In the photo at top, some of the marble panels have been removed, revealing some of the water damage that has occured over the years that has to be ameliorated.
Directly above is one of the elaborate stained glass windows that bathe the interior of the mausoleum with colored light.
Since it was built in the 1930s - with marble interior walls insulated from the elements by speed tile then granite veneer exterior walls - the building has aged. Most recently, water has leaked between the walls and damaged the speed tile at the front of the building (not near the crypts). A tree is growing out of a corner of the roof. The concrete stucco is dropping from the porch ceiling.
Fiske Assocites President Dana Fiske isn't daunted by the extent of the work that needs done. He's excited to get started on the mausoleum.
"The craftsmanship is unmatched," he said.
"When we are done, it'll look like a brand new building," added Fiske sales and project manager Bill Smith.
"We are going to be proud of this when it's done," Fiske added.
Cemetery board president Don Howe also is happy to begin the project.
"This is a beautiful building," Howe said, but the work has "been put off." The building is more than 70 years old, and "we want it to be good for another 70 years, after we have passed."
"Those entombed here paid for the upkeep," Howe added. Some of the money for the restoration was set aside in a trust.
Fiske hopes to have the work completed late next summer.
There are crypts available in the mausoleum for interment. Contact Oakland Cemetery for information.