Marengo Mausoleum



By LaVerna K. Moser with Beverly Blythe

Mausoleum Entrance
Mausoleum Entrance
Nov 2008

  Affluent people in Marengo were approached to buy crypts in a mausoleum proposed to be built at the I.O.O.F. Cemetery on the southeast corner of Marengo. Enough sales were made for the Columbus Mausoleum Company to proceed with their plans and it was built on the south edge of the cemetery in 1921/22. It was designed in a “T” shape and could accommodate 220 bodies in the three wings of the building with tiers of crypts five high.

  Due to the failure of banks in Marengo during the depression the Columbus Mausoleum Company lost all of their funds and turned the Mausoleum over to the I.O.O.F. Cemetery. Later the Odd Fellows disbanded their lodge in Marengo due to low membership and turned the cemetery, mausoleum and their remaining funds over to the city of Marengo.

Mausoleum Nov 2008

  Things went well with the Mausoleum until about 1950 when the roof began to leak and there were no funds for repairs. In 1952 the board voted to abandon the building and published a notice in the paper for families to remove their loved ones and bury them elsewhere. The process of reburials was immediately started, but it was not finished.

  In early spring of 2008 Beverly Blythe from Williamsburg made me aware of the fact that there were still twenty-six bodies remaining in the Mausoleum, one of an “unknown” thought to be a World War I soldier according to newspaper articles. The situation was unacceptable to both of us so we teamed up and were determined to correct it.

  Through months of research we developed a plan of correct legal procedure for removal and reburial of everyone left in the mausoleum and then with the help of many others we completed that plan in October of 2008.

  We, also, were continuously doing research to try and identify the “unknown” person. We talked to many people, we searched military records, read microfilm, death records, obituaries, probate records, mausoleum records and cemetery records and on October 29, 2008, we found the clue that linked all of our tidbits of information together and we had the name of the “unknown” person – Adam Haist.

  There is an intriguing story on page 235 of Pauline Lillie’s book of Marengo history printed in 1984. The caption, “Buried Three Times – Jacob Haas”, heads up her story of how some of the members of this family were first buried in the Old Marengo Cemetery, then moved to the Marengo Mausoleum and then removed from there and buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery. This simply wasn’t true. We removed the body of Jacob Haas and nine Haas family members and reburied them in the Haas lot in the Old Marengo Cemetery where Jacob, his wife and some of his children had previously been buried and still had tombstones.

                Mausoleum Removals and Reburials

 Removed to Old Marengo Cemetery:    Removed to Ladora Cemetery:
    Caroline Haas    1827-1885          Rebecca Archer Kimball
    Mary Haas        1863-1863            Nicholson      1844-1915
    Mary Haas        1869-1869       Removed to Titler Cemetery:
    Jacob Haas       1822-1872           John Titler     1853-1924
    Joseph Haas      1857-1892           Carolina Titler 1866-1935
    Philip Haas      1860-1860       Removed to Marengo IOOF Cemetery:
    Ernest J. Haas   1895-1897          Charles E Kent   1870-1941
    Ida M. Haas      1869-1928          George W Lewis   1843-1921
    Minnie R. Haas   1868-1929          Loraine E Lewis  1846-1943
    Fred Haas        1866-1931          Clarence R Slaymaker 1881-1934 
 The first six were removed from        John Becker      1861-1944
 the Old Marengo Cemetery and put       Elizabeth Becker 1864-1934
 into the mausoleum. On Sept. 23,       Rufus W McKnight 1863-1929
 2008 all ten were buried in the        Addie E McKnight 1863-1946
 Haas family lot back in the Old        Adam Haist       1871-1950
 Marengo Cemetery.                      August N Schloeman 1854-1930
                                        Mary Schloeman   1867-1950
                                        Lewis W Marble   1850-1921
 - Bev Blythe                           Hattie E Marble  1863-1944


Thank You

  We want to thank everyone who helped us remove and bury the 26 people that were remaining in the Marengo Mausoleum since its closing in 1952. A very special thank you to John and T.J. Kloster of Kloster Funeral Home in Marengo.
  Thank you to Richard Austin, Williamsburg, for the use of his scaffolding, Chuck Schaull of Iowa City for the use of his excavator, Stuart Blythe of Williamsburg and Kevin Collingwood of Marengo who assisted with the disinterments and opened and closed the graves.
  Thank you to those who helped us August 23rd with the disinterment of the "unknown": John and T.J. Kloster, Stuart Blythe; State Archaeologist, Robin Lillie, Dr. Tyler O'Brien from UNI; UI Graduate students, Anna Waterman, Hannah Marsh, and John Willman; Forensic genealogist, Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick from CA; Steve Young, representing the Iowa Veterans Cemetery and Tom Crosby of Iowa County Veterans Affairs.
Thank you to the U.S. Military - JPAC (Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii), and Dr. Coble of the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Maryland.
  A Thank you to Shirley Schermer, Director of Burials - Office of State Archaeologist, the Iowa County Pioneer Cemetery Commission, Gary Edwards and Alan Schumacher, who oversee Titler Cemetery and Gene Atkinson associated with the North Sumner Cemetery, and Carl Schumacher, former Marengo City Administrator and the Marengo City Council.
  The only costs to the citizens of Marengo were the legal fees for 6 disinterment permits through the court system and the value of 5 burial spaces in the Marengo Cemetery.

To Everyone who gave us moral support - THANKS!
LaVerna Moser, Amana and Bev Blythe, Williamsburg

(published in the Iowa County Advertiser in the 1st or 2nd week of Nov 2008. Provided by Netha Meyer)


Title: Marengo Mausoleum
Authors/Contributors: LaVerna K. Moser & Beverly Blythe
Photos by: Bev Blythe Published: Iowa County IAGenWeb, 10 Dec 2008; Marengo Sesquicentennial Books, 2009. Copyright © 2008 by LaVerna K. Moser & Beverly Blythe. All rights reserved.
A Sep 2010 News Article on The Mausoleum Project can be found in Iowa County newspapers.
(LaVerna and Beverly are awarded certificates by the State Association for the Preservation of Iowa Cemeteries)

(Pioneer Republican, Marengo, 1952)

Vote To Abandon
Local Mausoleum


The mausoleum building in the I. O. O. F. cemetery is to be abandoned. This decision was arrived at at a well-attended meeting of the members of the Marengo Mausoleum association at the courthouse Monday afternoon.

While that decision may come as a surprise to many of the general public, it has been no secret to most of those in the association that they would soon be faced to face with some tremendous needs.

Cost of repairs badly needed at the present time has been estimated at $5,000. Officers of the organization point out that the mausoleum is now 31 years old and the need for repairs will continue to increase rather rapidly as the years go by. The organization has on hand $311 in cash and a $1,000 government bond.

Asked Small Donations

In recent years the officers have endeavored to secure donations of $5 and $10 from the crypt owners with only very ordinary success. When they could see no way to provide for repairs needed now, irrespective of future needs, members of the association decided that the only wise course was to decide now to discontinue operation of the mausoleum, when most of the families are able to care for their own loved ones sealed in the crypts.

The weaknesses responsible for most of the difficulty now springs from lack of foresight at the time the structure was erected. The mausoleum did not result from a local need or desire, but was a promotion venture.

In the summer of 1921 representatives of the Columbus Mausoleum company came to Marengo. They interested some local persons in buying crypts and proceeded to erect the building.

Organized Association

Crypt owners organized an association with Fred Haas as president and Frank Cook as secretary, both of them deceased for some time. No one seemed to give serious thought to the possible repair needs of future years and no adequate action was ever taken to provide for those needs. A considerable portion of the association's funds were dissipated with the failure of two of this city's banks.

To help the association get on its feet financially Dr. S. R. Swain purchased some years ago a block of crypts beyond what he could possibly need for the use of his own family.



(Pioneer Republican, Marengo, 10 July 1952)



The Marengo Mausoleum association met Monday, July 7, at 3 p. m., in the Court House basement. During this meeting a resolution was passed to abandon the Mausoleum building. This action was the result of reports on the cost of needed repairs estimated at $5000. Forseeing the toll time and weather would take on the building in the future and with a small amount of $311 on hand plus a $1000 government bond, the conclusion was reached that while most families were able to care for their own, it was the most appropriate time to face the deteriorating situation. The motion to abandon the building was passed and families may rebury their own loved ones.

The annual meeting will be held Dec. 1, 1952; where further particulars will be discussed.             26-1t