THE BEGINNING FOR SANDRA AND WHAT SHE SAW!
Notice : The doors were wide open, the graffiti, the missing and broken headstones, the peeling paint, the broken windows, the condition of the roof and the general destruction, done by the vandals and the kids that used the mausoleum as a party place.
After seeing the condition of the building, I was very angry. I went straight to my Dad and told him what I saw. I told him something had to be done; we could not leave our family members there in the condition it was in. It was then that my father told me of his grandfather, Henry F. Thielman, and the fact that Henry had something to do with the building of the mausoleum. My father had a tone of pride in his voice when he spoke of his Grandfather.
Well, this information changed the outlook I had on the problem, and soon it became a new mission for me. I was compelled to learn who all the people in the building were, locate their families, find out who managed the building and see if I could do something, anything, to help. Something had to be done.
I returned the next weekend with my brother and his family. We did everything we could do to secure the building. Our efforts during the following weeks represented only “band-aid” solutions. I began my research, contacted hundreds of people and started to figure out a way to bring the mausoleum back to the beautiful building I remembered from so long ago. When we were children, my Grandmother took my sister, brother and me to the mausoleum on Sundays after church, and it was so peaceful and beautiful.
NOW COMES THE HARD WORK
ACID CLEANING AND POWERWASHING
All I can say is THANK GOD for good people. Without the help of Mr. Ron Bunday, a personal friend of mine and a very generous handyman, and the help from Irving and Alan Beseke, who supplied the much needed water and gas powered water pump for our power washers, the cleaning project would never have happened. We spent many a weekend applying the acid to clean the building and power washing it off. There were a few days I thought I would never make it back home again. Some weekends, Ron and I camped alongside the building so we could put in full days of work. We even worked into the night, using our cars’ headlights so we could see what we were doing.
The mausoleum is now clean. But there’s more work to do:
tuck-pointing, dead tree removal and splash pad installation.
Now we have some inside work to do:
patching the concrete and painting.
Thank you, Mr. Ron Bunday, one of the best drywall experts and painters I know. With-out Ron standing at my side from the beginning, I would never have been able to tackle such a project. Ron knew what to do and what tools to use. A world of thanks to you, Ron! There are many others who wish to thank you too, but you will not know them for some time to come.
We’re not done yet
Next, we made faux-painted panels for the missing marble that was destroyed. We repaired and faux-painted the closet doors. After the installation of the panels, things started to look much better inside.
We also did the best job we could at patching the leaking roof, which didn’t really work. (The roof continued to leak until it was replaced in 2014)
THE WORK BEGINS AGAIN, SUMMER 2012
Well, it’s been a few years since I worked on the mausoleum, and time has not been kind once again. There is new damage from the leaking roof and the drainage spouts have taken a beating. I only pray somehow we can afford a new roof. I’m trying to find any roofing company that may be able to donate material or help us with the labor. Cross your fingers and say a prayer.
I would also like to find a mason or anyone with experience who can help me repair or replace the glass block windows on the high walls and around the building. I have installed a few small windows at my own home, but I don’t think I can tackle a job by myself like the one needed here.
You can also see where the roof has leaked over two of the family compartments. The faux-painted wood panels didn’t hold up. Arthur Struve’s headstone and side panels have all but disintegrated. I’m sorry Arthur, I’ll get you a new headstone somehow.
This summer we are trying to clean up the headstones where the paint has run or faded over time. A new touch-up of a little paint can never hurt and it’s easy work for the young people.
As you can see from the photographs above, the landscaping is grown over again and is in need of care. The trees and bushes all need cutting back again.
I would also like to have two new signs made. The ones we made 12 years ago didn’t last as long as we had hoped. We would like the same style and size as the one off route 1 for St. Luke’s Cemetery. My 14 year old nephew suggested maybe his boy scout troop could help install the new signs if we can get them made. What a sweet- heart, but I’m not sure how my nerves would handle a 100 mile drive with a troop of 8-14 year old boy scouts, and then supervise them while we work. But I’ll take all the help I can get.
If you can help in any way, cash donations, material or time and labor, please contact Sandra or leave a note below. Your cash donations or donations of landscaping / roofing / glass block material are tax deductible.
When you have a date that is set for repairs let me know, I can help however I can.
I would like to help any possible way. My grandmother and grandfather and uncle are resting in the mausoleum. I never met my uncle and grandfather, but my grandmother lived with us for many years and is a great, great person. Email with any details. Thanks Dennis Bielfeldt
How close to Chicago is the mausoleum? I’ve plenty of time on my hands and would gladly help with the cleanup.