Bellefontaine Cemetery - St. Louis, Missouri

bellefontaine-architecture

Overview

The architecture of the buildings, mausoleums, and larger monuments at Bellefontaine display influences from Classical, Romanesque, Gothic, Egyptian, and even some forms of modern architecture, making it a wonderful site to study Western architecture. Follow these links to learn about our tours, or for information about lesson plans for student groups.

Hotchkiss Chapel

Hotchkiss Chapel was named as a tribute to the designer and first superintendent of Bellefontaine Cemetery, Almerin Hotchkiss, who served for 46 years, as well as his son, Frank Hotchkiss, who served for 20 years.

A complete renovation of the historic chapel was completed in 2009 and celebrated with a ceremony marking a century since the original structure was built. The renovation preserved much of the chapel’s original woodwork, including the front and side doors, pews and decorative wall sconces. The rear of the chapel features a new columbarium, with 665 wooden and glass niches designed to hold cremated remains.

The chapel is available for memorial services as well as other events. With superb acoustics and seating for 50, it’s an ideal site for musical performances. Recent events have included the St. Louis Beacon Festival’s Bellefontaine Baroque and meetings of the Professional Tour Guide Association, Garden Club of America, and American Culture Association.

Wildwood Valley

In the southwestern section of the cemetery is Wildwood Valley. With extensive improvements completed in the spring of 2010, the area boasts two large lakes with beautiful fountains, connected by a babbling brook. The water encircles the outdoor Columbarium, with hundreds of individual and family lots nearby.

Brown Brothers Mausoleums

George Warren Brown made his fortune as a manufacturer of shoes. The hexagonal mausoleum was designed in 1928 by Mauran, Russell and Crowell, St. Louis architects. Opposite is the circular mausoleum of A.D. Brown, older brother of George. He was an early president of Hamilton-Brown Shoe Company which he helped organize. His tomb was designed in 1910 by Isaac Taylor, another St. Louis architect.

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Busch Mausoleum

This elaborate Gothic mausoleum, constructed in 1915, has walls made of unpolished red Missouri granite and a gray-green slate roof. The structure, home to elaborate stained glass panels, resembles a small church. The inscription above the entrance reads: “Veni, Vidi, Vici” — or “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Busch, born in 1839 in Germany, was co-founder of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. He joined the business after marrying Eberhard Anheuser’s daughter Lilly, who is also laid to rest in the mausoleum.

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Wainwright Tomb

In 1891, Ellis Wainwright, a young St. Louis millionaire brewer, commissioned Louis Sullivan to design the tomb for his beautiful young wife. Sullivan had just completed the Wainwright Building in St. Louis, one of the masterpieces of architecture and generally considered to be the first skyscraper in the world.

In the mausoleum, Sullivan combined two ancient forms: a half circle with a cube. The only ornament is a border of stone richly incised with tulip and leaf motifs. The double doors are bronze grills, framed by delicate stone carvings in a snowflake pattern. Sullivan’s draftsman for the project was Frank Lloyd Wright, whose influence can also be seen.

This unique tomb is considered the Taj Mahal of St. Louis and in 1970 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Tate Mausoleum

This Egyptian-style mausoleum was built in 1907 by Frank N. Tate, who at the time controlled most of the theater property in St. Louis. He also owned theaters in Chicago and New York. In 1921, Mr. and Mrs. Tate gave $75,000 to the University of Missouri to provide a memorial hall in the School of Law in memory of their son, Lee Harry Tate, who was killed in an automobile accident that year.

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