Fairview Mausoleum

Fairview Mauseleum is no longer in existence.

Historical Note from the Finding aid at Milwaukee Public Library Archives:
Fairview Mausoleum was constructed by George L. Thomas in 1912 and existed until 1996. Located at 6316 Fairview Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Fairview served as a community mausoleum. In 1952, the owners filed for bankruptcy and the mausoleum fell into disrepair. In 1994, Fairview Mausoleum Maintenance Co. Inc. filed a lawsuit to force the City of Milwaukee to take over the responsibility of the mausoleum grounds. The company stated that they had not been able to take proper care of the grounds for ten years and that the $100,000 remaining in the Fairview Mausoleum Trust was not enough to continue the maintenance. This lawsuit led to the eventual takeover of grounds operations by the City of Milwaukee.

The mausoleum, originally constructed of black granite, was neglected for years and continued to deteriorate until it was finally condemned in 1996. The necessity to transfer the human remains from the property resulted in a contracted with Brett Funeral Home and Graceland Cemetery. All 1,000 human remains were transferred from Fairview Mausoleum to the Brett Funeral Home and re-interred in the Graceland Cemetery between December 1996 and May 1997. Although Fairview Mausoleum no longer exists, a pair of large stone pillars placed in Section 11 of the Graceland Cemetery mark the new resting place of those formerly interred at “Fairview Mausoleum”.

At the Milwaukee Public Library Archives there are records of those interred:
This Series contains records from the City of Milwaukee Department of City Development (identified on folders as DCD) relating to the Fairview Mausoleum, 1996-1997. Folder contents include 4” x 6” color 35 mm photographs and/or Polaroids of the caskets or urns, corresponding crypt/niche inventory, updated record of identity, and newly identified deceased report sheets. When no reports have been included, the notation of no documentation included appears.

Paperwork includes:

  • name of deceased
  • description of coffin or urn
  • condition
  • and notes relating to items of clothing or jewelry exposed by the exhumation process

Folders not containing an image include the notation no photographs. If the accompanying paperwork lists a nickname, this has been noted on the folders as well. The final folder in the collection contains 35 mm negatives for all the 35 mm photographs.

The finding aid is available online here: Finding aid and includes an index of names for which there are folders.

There are no restrictions on the materials. The collection is open to all in accordance with state law. The public may view City of Milwaukee Archives material by appointment in the Archives Reading Room of the Central Library. To inquire about use of City Archives materials, contact the Humanities and Archives Department at 414 286-3061.

The Funeral Director that started Fairview is deceased.

The following is from the Fall 2010 issue of the Wisconsin Cemetery and Cremation Association Reporter (WCCA

Fairview Mausoleum

If you visit Graceland Cemetery, you may notice a couple of large monuments in section 11 with the name Fairview Mausoleum" on them. Fairview was a community Mausoleum" that existed 1912 to 1996. The picture above was taken shortly before it was torn down. It was located at 6316 Fairview Ave. In 1952 the ownership filed for bankruptcy. From that time forward, the mausoleum died a slow death of neglect, until it finally was condemned in 1996.

In demolishing the old building, the 999 bodies that were entombed there would need to be relocated. In stepped Graceland Cemetery. By this time the Fairview Mausoleum was being operated by the City of Milwaukee. The city contracted with Graceland Cemetery and Brett Funeral home. After several months all of the 999 were relocated to Graceland.

Select Burials and Interments

Capt. Edward Gifford/b. 26 October 1847/d. Apr. 14, 1912 on the Titanic
Catherine Elizabeth (Halstead)/b. 26 October 1847 in Waterloo, NY/
	died on 29 July 1920 in Milw./daughter of J. Y. Halstead 
	and his wife (née Cook)/wife of Capt. Edward
Harriette/b. 8 October 1872 in New York/d.  11 February 1941/daughter 
	of Capt. Edward & Catherine
From Encyclopedia Titanica: 
First Class Passenger: Captain Edward Gifford Crosby [www.encyclopedia-titanica.org] 
Accessed Sun, 04 May 2003 18:01:46 GMT-0500.