Board Seeks Help Restoring 100-Year-Old Beecher Mausoleum

November 8, 2012 – Beecher Herald

THE HANDSOME BEDFORD STONE Beecher Mausoleum was formally designated a Will County Historic Landmark in 1998. Vandalism has damaged the once-pristine white marble interior, and the original Louis Comfort Tiffany-crafted stained glass windows are no longer there. But a new group of “guardian angels” are looking to restore the building. Monetary donations and volunteers to help clean and repair the interior are needed.

11-11-2012 Board Seeks Help Restoring 100-Year-Old Beecher MausoleumA century-old mausoleum in Beecher is about to get a new life, thanks to a handful of residents who recognize its place in the history of Eastern Will County.

The Will County Historical Preservation Commission and the Will County Board officially designated the stately Bedford stone and white-marble building a Will County Historic Landmark on March 19, 1998.

Researching the history of the Beecher Mausoleum, along with trying to learn about the lives of those entombed within it, is a fascinating project that can take history buffs back to the early part of the twentieth century when Beecher was bustling with new residents. Gould and Reed Streets then were little more than dirt roads filled with horse-drawn buggies. Passenger trains stopped at the Beecher depot every day to pick up passengers and deliver the mail.

It is easy to get lost in those times and wonder what really happened when some village forefathers, such as Henry Thielman and Arthur Struve (Beecher’s banker), acted on the community’s vision to offer an alternative to in-ground graves that provided a clean, dry, dignified place in which to pay respects to loved ones who had passed on. Like many other communities in that era, they set out to build the strongest, most enduring structure of its time.

Sadly, not all of the mausoleum’s history has been positive. In fact, in its more recent past, not only have there been incidents that have severely damaged the building itself, but scandalous rumors have demoralized the very story of the once-proud, reverent undertaking.

Beecher historians are looking to put some of those rumors to rest.

Here’s what they have to say.


It has long been believed that the mausoleum was owned by a woman in Chicago Heights, who was a descendent of Arthur Struve.

Such stories have even been perpetuated through newspaper articles, including The Beecher Herald in 1994 when it was written, “The mausoleum was passed down to Arthur Struve’s daughter after his death and is presently said to be under the care of his granddaughter of the Chicago Heights area…”

The long-held notion that the mausoleum was owned by Struve’s granddaughter, Peggy Orr, is untrue.

The Beecher Mausoleum was initially governed by a board of directors in accordance with the 1903 Cemetery Care Act.

On April 3, 1914, the original cemetery association elected the following officers and trustees to manage the building: Henry B. Ruge, Charles Beseke, Chris. B Eskilson, Charles Hack, Frank Hunte, Arthur Struve and Tom Fick. Four of the men served three-year terms and three served six-year terms. C.B. Eskilson was elected president, Charles Hack, vice president, and Frank Hunte, secretary-treasurer.

Unfortunately, new members were never appointed to replace original members who passed away. The circumstances surrounding subsequent board members remains unclear.

Arthur Struve’s daughter, Rosamunda Orr, repaired and maintained the mausoleum for decades, often utilizing craftsmen from Orr Construction, the family business. Rosamunda’s daughter, Peggy Orr, continued to take care of the building when her aging mother could no longer do it.

Both Rosamunda and Peggy used their own money to make repairs and to pay for lawn maintenance. Peggy Orr’s personal letters from the 1980s document her frustration over caring for the building and repairing what vandals did without help from anyone and with no end in sight. She took care of the building out of the goodness of her heart and the sense of pride she inherited from her grandfather. She didn’t own the mausoleum, but she maintained it to the best of her ability for as long as she could. Ultimately, the task became too great for her.

It was widely believed that Peggy Orr owned the mausoleum, but that wasn’t the case.


One of the saddest chapters in the mausoleum’s history was caused by the damage both inside and outside of the building. Vandals broke into the building on several occasions over a 10-year period. Marble slabs that bore the names of the deceased were smashed. Small fires lit inside the building scorched and stained marble floors and ledges. The entire structure was littered with broken glass bottles and graffiti. The glass block windows, which had replaced the original stained-glass, were riddled with bullets and were broken time and time again.

Initial Funding

When the initial management of the mausoleum was established, funds from the sale of crypts were collected for care and maintenance of the building. Some of the other mausoleums built during the same time period by the same builder, Cecil Bryan, who is credited with building more than 80 mausoleums across the country, have funds remaining. Others do not. Some of the other mausoleums are in great shape. Others have been left to decay without care.

It is unclear what happened to the money initially set aside for maintenance. It apparently ran out during the 1960s. Whether it was the result of investments lost when the stock market crashed in 1929, or simply was spent on costly repairs following the vandalism, remains unknown.

It is noteworthy to add however, that there is a vast difference between the dollar value today and that of the early 1900s. Trying to predict the financial future by setting aside funds would likely fall far short at today’s high costs. For example, it is estimated that $500 in 1914 would have the buying power today of about $11,000. By today’s standards, that amount of cash would not go far.

Despite the many colorful chapters in the mausoleum’s history, the fact remains that the building has stood for almost a century. Historians, and a new board of directors, feel there is no reason to believe it cannot stand for another century, given the proper care.

The new board of the Beecher Mausoleum Guardian Angel Association, seated this summer, includes Sandra Lee Thielman, president; Washington Township Supervisor Bob Howard; Beecher Village President Paul Lohmann; John Dean, of Hack Funeral Home; Lance Saller, of Bahlman Oil; and Donald Bahlman, architect.

“I believe the mausoleum can again make a positive impact on the community,” said Thielman.

“With a little care, and if the community bands together, Beecher’s Mausoleum can be properly repaired and restored so it can once again serve the community for which it was built.”

“We welcome participation by any other concerned or interested persons,” Thielman noted.

“As you may be aware, the Beecher Mausoleum now has a website ( and a Facebook page. We are trying to spread the word about the history of the building and the people interred there. We would like to re-construct a perpetual board and a perpetual care fund.”

Through the efforts of Sandra Thielman and Bob Howard, the Roofers Union/Local #11, the Carpenters Union/ Local #434 and the Bricklayers Union/Local 21 have all agree to do the necessary repair labor to replace the roof and the stone scuppers/drain spouts. With the assistance of the unions, the expense of the needed repair materials will be minimal.

Thielman said it will be necessary to solicit donations from larger organizations, including philanthropic and fraternal organizations, along with community support such as fundraisers and raffles.

“Washington Township and the Village of Beecher are not the only communities we will approach with our plea for support,” she added.

“The Village of Crete has a strong connection to the mausoleum, since prominent citizens and veterans of other communities, including some in Indiana, rest eternally within the walls of the Beecher Mausoleum.

“Beecher’s Mausoleum has survived for 100 years thanks to the love and care of two good souls and perhaps a handful of anonymous good samaritans,” said Thielman, a member of the Beecher Mausoleum Guardian Angel Association. “I have worked to restore the building’s dignity since 1996, when I saw it at its worst.

“This structure is a time-line, a history book carved in marble, a family tree linked not just to those buried inside but to thousands of families directly and indirectly connected to it. It’s a building with a story that must be told, accurately and with dignity,” she added.

“That is our mission.”

When built, Beecher Mausoleum included 210 crypts total, 170 isle crypts and four family compartments of 10 crypts each. Isle crypts sold for $200-$300, family compartments were purchased for $1,500.

In 2012, there are 29 isle crypts and 26 salable crypts. There also are 17 family compartment crypts unoccupied.

Currently, 171 people are entombed in the Mausoleum, representing 65 family surnames.

Beecher Masuoleum Now Online

Newspaper Article –  Beecher Herald – Staff Reporter

July 26, 2012 

The name “Bahlman” is a familiar name in and around Beecher: who doesn’t know Bahlman’s Auto Service and Tire Repair, on the corner of Penfield Street and Dixie Highway? Who knew that business began in 1921, started by Charles Bahlman? Or, that his older brother Henry F. Bahlman was the first Washington Township resident to run for countywide office in 1914.

Donald Bahlman, an architect in Virginia Beach, VA, is Henry Bahlman’s grandson. He is learning some of the facts about his family by visiting a new web site – Several of Don’s family members are interred in the Beecher Mausoleum.

Don was surprised to find the newly-created web site, literally hours after it became live. Coincidentally, he had been looking into his family’s history when he ran across the site.

“Although the web site is about the community at large, it did feel a little like it was ‘my’ family history on the internet when I first saw it. And immediately, I wanted to see more,” he said.

With an appetite for more information about his own family tree, he immediately contacted Sandra Thielman, the site’s webmaster.

Thielman, whose efforts to restore, repair, and preserve the mausoleum date back to the 1990s, has many of her own family members interred in the mausoleum.

“I really like genealogy and family history, and I know someone out there has old photographs and stories I’d like to see and hear,” Don told her. “I may have photos and stories that will interest others, as well. I’d like to see the web site filled with as much information that’s manageable so people, today, can better understand who those souls in the mausoleum were in life.”

His comment was exactly the point, according to Thielman. It is why she created the web site. During her extensive research in trying to locate the families of the souls entombed in the building, she learned much, but it isn’t enough. She would like to verify information with families for accuracy, as well as to enhance the site itself.

While the web site centers on the mausoleum, it also will include a history of the people buried there, painting a picture of life of early Beecher and Washington Township.

The Beecher Mausoleum, built in 1913, was designed to provide a clean, practical burial place as an alternative to open graves.

Thielman wants to establish a new Beecher Mausoleum Association this summer to oversee the care of the building. A previous organization has not been active since the late 1960s. The last board members, elected in 1933, have since passed on.

With a need for restoration and repairs of the building, a not-for-profit corporation to oversee the perpetual care of the building has been established.

“The time has come for a more permanent organization to not only preserve the mausoleum’s past,” said Thielman, “but to protect its future as well as the souls that rest eternally within.”

The web site, a work in progress, contains a comprehensive list of each of the persons buried in the building, with a photo of their head stone. Every effort is being made to provide a copy of the original obituary, along with as much pertinent information as possible about each person.

For more information, contact Sandra Thielman at (815) 788-9710 or email her at

Restoring respect

June 18, 2008 Northwest Herald


—Leslie Rohrer of Wauconda Historical Cemetery Association looks over a restored gravesite at the cemetery.

Cemetery Restoration Nears End

Work is wrapping up this week on the restoration of about 300 monuments in the historic portion of Wauconda Cemetery.

Many graves date back to the 1800s.

The work is being overseen by the Wauconda Township Historic Cemetery Association, formed in 1990 to restore old cemeteries in the township. The association began restoration work on the Wauconda Cemetery in July.

The association hired National Stone Inc. of Lake Bluff to remount monuments and reset settled bases and fallen stones.

The association budget this year is $17,000 which included repairs at Wauconda Cemetery and upkeep at two other cemeteries in the townships, Fisher and Volo.

“The work costs the average property owner in Wauconda Township $3 a year,” Township Clerk Gerald Beyer said.

Wauconda Cemetery pdf

—click on the article in blue to open PDF file

Editor’s note:

Do you think this should be done in the Washington Township? Do you think the property owners of Washington Township would support a small property tax to make the much needed repairs to the local cemeteries and mausoleum?

Please give us your thoughts. Please post your replies below.

Future of Will County Landmark in doubt

January 9, 2005 The Star

Newspaper Article by Jennifer Golz

Eternity may be relative when it comes to the fate of those who are laid to rest in the Beecher Mausoleum.

The Will County historic landmark, on Cemetery Road east of Dixie Highway, has been brought back from its near state of disrepair by a woman whose family history dates back to the mausoleum’s inception.

But, she said, without the help of the community, the building will once again fall by the wayside, causing concern for the future of the 171 occupied crypts.

A special meeting to discuss the future of the mausoleum is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the Washington Township Center, 301 E. Indiana Ave.

“It was a beautiful, grand, regal structure with white marble interior and Bedford stone exterior with stained glass windows,“ Sandra Lee Thielman said.

Thielman is a descendant of six people who are laid to rest in the Beecher Mausoleum, including her grandparents, her great-grandfather was one of the founders of the Beecher Mausoleum Construction Co., which fashioned the building after a similar mausoleum in Crown Point, Ind.

According to the Will County Historic Preservation Commission, the building was completed in 1913.

Thielman said it was once a place that she was proud to have her past associated with. But after her family moved to northern Illinois, she had not visited the site for many years and was shocked to see the damage that was done by vandals.

“I was truly horrified,” she said after seeing the mausoleum in 1997.

“I could not believe the state of the building, with the bonfires, garbage, and graffiti. It was used for a party place for years.”

Thielman said initially she wanted to take her relatives out of the mausoleum, but instead decided to start a letter writing campaign “to save it.”

She sent more than 600 packets of information in a plea for help across the country, securing $16,000 for cleanup and repair of the building.

Thielman, who lives near the Wisconsin boarder, has made countless trips to the mausoleum to acid wash the exterior of the building to restore its original color. She scraped and repainted the interior ceiling, cleaned up the landscape, hired a professional tuck pointer and made artificial marble slabs to replace those that were broken on the crypts.

“in 2001, it was an embarrassment to know my grandmother is buried there,” Thielman said. “But God gave me the skills, time and ability and in four years I got it done.”

Along the way, Thielman secured Landmark status for the mausoleum to ensure there would be no changes to the original architecture and design. It also ensures the mausoleum cannot be demolished without court action.

But over the years, the mausoleum has continued to slowly deteriorate without the constant upkeep that the 92-year-old landmark requires.

Thielman said there are many more things that need to be replaced such as some interior marble and stained glass windows. However, they are costly and there are no funds or a local committee to watch over the building.

Thielman said the crypts originally were sold for approximately $200 each, with the understanding that $5 would be set aside for perpetual care. She said through her research she only has found one family that donated $5000 to the perpetual care account.

“I Have carried the burden since 1997 and I cannot carry it alone anymore,” Thielman said.

She said in a worse-case scenario, the mausoleum would fall to such a state of disrepair, the county would demolish the building, but before doing so, descendants would have to be notified, the crypts would have to be opened and the remains would have to be buried elsewhere.

Thielman said she estimates the cost to be “Somewhere between $4,000 to $7,000 per person… and we have 171 people in the building. “

The mausoleum sits outside the village limits of Beecher, in Washington Township, and is not affiliated with any one church.

Thielman approached Beecher Mayor Paul Lohmann, asking him for help in a efforts to ignite the community’s concern.

“I want to get cooperation from various churches and township people to set up a funding source and set up a commission or board to govern it, to make sure the never happens again,” Lohmann said.

“It’s not in the village limits, but I will try to get pastors and chairmen of different churches to have parishioners that are laid to rest there, and get the county and township board members to see what we can do to resolve this issue.” Lohmann said.

Washington Township supervisor Nelson Collins said that while the mausoleum is within the township’s borders, it is not the governing body that is responsible for the building.

“If they did accept the responsibility, there would need to be some funding and that can only be done by referendum, and I don’t know how willing the voters would be to maintain a mausoleum,” Collins said.

However, Collins said he is looking forward to Monday’s meeting and learning more about the mausoleum’s history.

“I don’t think the majority of people are aware of it,” He said. “Maybe out of this whole thing, people will be educated that it exists and has landmark status.”

Grave matter – Women works to preserve historic Beecher Mausoleum

December 31, 2004 The Sunday Journal

by Nancy Ghiotto

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP – Once a stately final resting place, the Beecher Mausoleum has since become an abused and deteriorating landmark, – something one woman is fighting to fix.

Sandra Thielman, of Wonder Lake, is working to preserve the burial building from becoming an eyesore and continues to seek volunteers to help with the project.

When on walks through the doorway of the mausoleum, there is a sense of peace and history of whose who buried within the walls of the building. The marble floors, walls of the interior and the ornate cement and stone exterior represent the care ancestor’s took to honor their deceased loved ones and the expense they made to accomplish that goal.

Thielman, herself, has numerous ancestors buried in crypts at the site. Many prominent early citizens of Beecher are there as well.

The construction of the Beecher Mausoleum, a 150-foot-long by 50-foot-wide structure, began in 1912 and was completed in 1913. It was declared a historic landmark in 1998 by the Will County Historic Preservation Commission. The mausoleum is near St. Luke’s Cemetery on the southeast edge of Beecher in unincorporated Washington Township and east of Route 1. Though the mausoleum is adjacent to the cemetery, it’s not affiliated with any church, said Ms. Thielman.

Her quest to preserve the landmark began about seven years ago, after she and her daughter, Christina, went there. She learned that her great-grandfather, Henry Thielman, was responsible for having the historic landmark built.

Henry was a real estate developer who became a resident of Beecher in 1899. Local banker Arthur Struve financed construction of the building and took over management of the mausoleum after Thielman moved to Arkansas.

Struve passed away in 1932, leaving the duties of selling crypts to his daughter, Rosamunda Orr. When she could no longer do the job, she appointed her daughter, Peggy Orr, to take over.

Henry Thielman died in 1947 and was buried at the mausoleum his vision helped create. His wife, Minnie, and nephew, Loren, are also buried there. Sandra’s mother, Dollie Joanne (who died in 1968) is buried at the site as well, along with Thielman’s fraternal grandparents, Walter and Paula.

Ms. Thielman remembers visiting the mausoleum as a child with her grandmother, Paula. Those visits stopped when she later moved to the northern suburbs. Today she lives in Wonder Lake near the Wisconsin border.

Before her grandmother’s death in 2001, she had been working at cleaning up the mausoleum – a long and expensive process.

Funds have been limited and often she would pay some of the expenses herself. She has also spent countless hours researching the historic landmark.

There were no funds for taking perpetual care of the mausoleum,” said Ms. Thielman.

She hopes to continue to investigate the family histories of those buried there.

Ms. Thielman gives credit to local historian, Virginia Bath, who has supplied old newspaper articles containing Beecher’s past history to help locate information on those buried at the site.

As more community members learn about the plight of the historic mausoleum, Ms. Thielman hopes to be able to find out even more about its occupants. One women turns out to be a servant and a past resident of the Kankakee Mental Hospital.

Thielman said it was not uncommon during the 1930’s and ‘40s that those with no money or families were buried at the mausoleum.

“The research on the families has been slow in coming. It would be great to have local people help with the missing information. The bigger the family, the easier it is to do research on the families related to those buried in the mausoleum,” she said of the 171 people entombed there.

Over time, she as a small group of volunteers have raised $16,000 for materials and repairs for the old building, but the damage has been costly.

Today, the repairs fund contains less than $3,000.

In the past, vandals have destroyed or damaged much of the inside of the mausoleum. There have been liquor bottles and cigarette burn marks found inside the burial crypt. Beautiful stained glass windows that once adorned the building have now been replaced with glass block. There has been extensive damage to the marble floors and walls from fires set by vandals.

But despite this, some progress has been made.

The building has been power washed, (since there is no water at the mausoleum site it was brought in from the Beseke farm which is close to the burial site), windows have been secured,, the ceiling repainted. Tuck pointing has been done and broken marble panels replaced with wood. The list of restoration needs continues to grow, including repairs for the leaking roof and flashing around the drains.

“The mausoleum was designed and built by some of Beecher’s past citizens. It’s important to keep the structure intact,” said Ms. Thielman.

Grave Matter – Wayne Wiechen, Paul LohmannBeecher resident Wayne Wiechen has helped in the past with maintaining the outside of the mausoleum. For six years he cut the grass and trimmed bushes that surrounded the building.

Often he and his wife, Charlene, would plant flowers in the urns that are on opposite ends in the front of the mausoleum. “We both have relatives who are buried in the mausoleum and in respect of them and the others buried there, we felt it was the right thing to do,” said Wiechen.

Village President Paul Lohmann would like to see a perpetual foundation set up for the maintenance and care of the historic landmark.

“The building is too much of an asset to our community to let it go. We should try to help to maintain it in the proper way,” he said.

A meeting to discuss the future restoration plans will be held at 7 p.m., Jan. 10, 2004, at Washington Township Center, 301 East Indiana Ave., Beecher

Lohmann Offers Help With Mausoleum Care

November 25, 2004 Beecher Herald

by Carol Henrichs

Village President Paul Lohmann has given hope to a women who was about at her wit’s end.

Lohmann, who has already proven himself an advocate of Beecher’s proud past as well as its promising future, is now taking on a new project.

He has offered to help Sandra Thielman with the Beecher Mausoleum project.

Sandra’s great-grandfather Henry Thielman is credited with building the historic Beecher Mausoleum, a significant undertaking in its day that stands today as a landmark structure, thanks largely to her efforts.

She is likely cut from a similar cloth as Henry Thielman, who was a real estate developer and considered one of the prominent early citizens of Beecher.

Thielman was the vice-president of the German-American Land Company that had offices in Chicago and Arkansas. He came to live in Beecher in 1899.

Sandra has built her own successful steel company AMS Resources Inc. in Crystal Lake.

At about the same time Sandra took on the restoration of the mausoleum through her reverence of the past, the beauty of the building, and the familial bond she shares with her ancestors.

Sandra took on the maintenance with an eye toward complete restoration of the mausoleum about six years ago as a result of a promise to her 97-year old grandmother, Paula.

It was Paula’s desire to be buried in the Beecher Mausoleum, next to her husband Walter, Henry’s son, and their son Loren, who died in a plane crash.

Sandra’s mother Dolly is also buried there, as is Henry’s wife Minnie.

It was Paula’s wish that first brought Sandra to Beecher. She visited the mausoleum about severak years ago for the first time. She was appalled at what she saw.

The neglected building had been vandalized and in a total state of disrepair. It was so different from the place she considered sacred when she was a child. Her family brought her there many times to pay their respects to deceased family members.

Sandra, who lives in Wonder Lake, not far from the Wisconsin border, has traveled often on weekends to work on the mausoleum.

It was not uncommon to see her atop the building, patching the roof and windows, cleaning the exterior with caustic chemicals, or repairing old marble slabs inside.

She took on the responsibility, largely by herself, of researching the ancestors of those entombed inside. She asked many of the for help. She raised enough money to at least secure the building and do some needed repairs.

Sandra came back recently, just to check on the mausoleum.

She found that the roof had been leaking a little. It caused some damage.

She realized that she could no longer drive two hours each way just to check for leaks.

So she returned the following weekend, with her nephew Justin Broerjtes. The two of them repaired the leak in the roof.

But, she realized that without help, she couldn’t continue.

There is so much more that needs to be done. The place has so many possibilities.

A similar mausoleum exists in west suburban Elmhurst. It has been completely restored and is being used for burials and stores urns containing ashes.

Sandra believes Beecher’s mausoleum could become viable again with a little help; it is not full. There is still plenty of room inside.

“It could even earn its keep” she said.

Sandra envisions a chapel inside, as the final gathering place for family members, as it once was.

She was so excited when Lohmann offered to help.

Lohmann played a huge role in the Depot Restoration Project. Lohmann had plenty to do with the completion of that project. What he didn’t do himself, he got others to accomplish. And, he is becoming a wizard at getting folks to participate, donate, and generally help when needed.

Lohmann thought he would call together a summit meeting of sorts, bringing in township officials and various churches. He said there should be something they can do to pitch in to take care of the building where many of Beecher’s early citizens are laid to rest.

He asked the village board members at a recent meeting if they had any objections to his trying to get something to happen for the mausoleum.

They told him to “go for it”

Sandra Thielman Placed Flowers

May 10, 2000 Beecher Herald

by: Carol Henrichs

Sandra Thielman placed flowers in her family’s crypt inside the Beecher Mausoleum. Several of her family members are interred there. Though she lives in Wonder Lake, Thielman often travels to Beecher to work on the mausoleum, which will be the final resting place of her 97-year-old grandmother. The building fell into neglect and suffered at the hands of vandals until Thielman spearheaded an effort to protect it. The mausoleum is now a Will County Historic Landmark.


Life to the Beecher Masuoleum

August 25, 1999 Beecher Herald

by: Carol Henrichs


SANDRA LEE THIELMAN AND her hometown handyman, Ron Bunday are hanging one of the marble strips above Sandra’s mother Dollie Joanne Thielman’s burial place inside one of the four multiple burial crypts inside the Beecher Mausoleum.

SANDRA PAYS ATTENTION to every detail. Here she and Ron are trying to repair a door to a closet within the mausoleum where cleaning supplies may one day be kept.

THE FINAL RESTING PLACE for Louis Kirchhoff and his young son Harry are entombed behind this stone bearing their name. Theirs was the earliest date in the mausoleum built in 1913. Louis died a year before the completion of the mausoleum. He was first buried at St. Luke’s Cemetery and then re-interred inside the mausoleum with his son.

THE STONE OF MARIA HOFFMANN, the mother of Carrie Hoffman, the mistress of the Hoffmann’s Saloon in downtown Beecher during its heyday. The stone is finally in place, thanks to Thielman and Bunday who hoisted it to its rightful place recently, for the first time since who knows how long. It was found “laying around” on the floor of the mausoleum. It was the victim of vandalism, as shown by the break in the corner. The darkened spots are burn stains from the candles of vandals who had desecrated the building and its contents.