THE BEECHER MAUSOLEUM – A WILL COUNTY HISTORIC PRESERVATION SITE
The notion of building a mausoleum in Beecher was first broached around 1911-1912. By March of 1912, the project was roundly supported by Beecher and the surrounding area.
Henry F. Thielman, a businessman, and Arthur Struve, a banker, took up the project and set it into motion, according to an article in the October 25, 1912 Beecher Herald.
“On an ideal site to be selected by the patrons, it is planned to erect a building which for beauty, elegance, durability, strength and sacredness of purpose will be unsurpassed anywhere,” according to that early report.
Thielman hired renowned architect Cecil E Bryan to build the mausoleum. Crypts were pre-sold to raise the required capital for the project. Once enough money was raised and the land acquired, construction started in June, 1913 by the International Mausoleum Company.
THE BEECHER MAUSOLEUM BECOMES A REGISTERED ILLINOIS MAUSOLEUM
On March 21, 1914, the mausoleum was registered in the State of Illinois under the Cemetery Care Act, dated March 14, 1903. It was managed under the auspices of the Beecher Cemetery and Mausoleum Association.
On April 3, 1914, the original 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 were to serve three years and three were to serve six years. C.B. Eskilson was elected president. Charles Hack was vice president, and Frank Hunte would serve as secretary-treasurer.
The mausoleum was built to accommodate 210 crypts total, including 170 aisle crypts and four family compartments containing ten crypts each. Aisle crypts sold for $200-$300; family compartments sold for $1,500.
As of today, 29 aisle crypts are vacant with 26 of them saleable.
Three crypts have been previously purchased but may be donated back to the restoration association. Seventeen family compartment crypts remain unoccupied.
At present, there are 171 people entombed in the Beecher Mausoleum, representing 65 family surnames.
The Beecher Mausoleum is located east of Illinois Route 1 (Dixie Highway) and south of Indiana Avenue, just outside the Village of Beecher’s corporate boundaries. The address is 301 W. Horner Lane, Beecher, IL 60401.
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