The Fairmount Cemetery Mausoleum on the west end of Davenport has gone through nearly $600,000 in repairs, and will soon be open to the public.
“A lot of work has been done. … This is a big, major improvement,” Carvel Morgan, caretaker at the Fairmount Cemetery, said on Friday, June 3, just before a Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony at the mausoleum.
That ceremony showcased the new-look mausoleum that has had about $450,000 in interior work and $125,000 in exterior repairs. The exterior work, paid for by the state, includes a new roof, door and window replacements. The interior projects, which began in March 2021, included retrimming marble, repairing shelving units and many other jobs.
Mr. Morgan said that most of the interior work is complete, but there are a few smaller jobs that still need to be done. In fact, on Friday, there were two crates of marble inside the mausoleum that will be used for marble repair and replacement work in the facility.
In the near future, the mausoleum will be open to the public during weekdays, he told a crowd of about 60 people at the ceremony.
Even though much work has been done to the mausoleum, there is still much more work to be done at Fairmount. Mr. Morgan said future projects include road repairs, building glass-front niches at the mausoleum, tree removal and other work.
“We still need some funding for these projects. We’re still searching for grants,” he added.
In addition to showcasing the mausoleum repairs, Mr. Morgan spent much of Friday telling people about the history and features of the facility. Some of those highlights include:
- The mausoleum opened in 1928 and cost $200,000. “That was a whole lot of money back then,” Mr. Morgan said.
- Mr. Morgan estimates the mausoleum is the resting place of about 500 people.
- The mausoleum is the resting place for Scott County’s last surviving Civil War soldier – John Thumm Sr., who died in 1940 at age 94.
- The mausoleum has stained glass in the interior as well as decorative features in some of the areas that serve as family rooms.
Mr. Morgan and others at Friday’s ceremony said that Fairmount has come a long way in just a few years.
Several years ago, people with family members buried in the cemetery complained about the condition of Fairmount. Many complaints centered on overgrown weeds, downed trees and tombstones in disrepair at the cemetery. There were also accusations of negligence and financial mismanagement directed at the cemetery’s former caretakers. The land eventually fell into receivership and under control of the state.
In 2017, the Iowa Insurance Division, which oversees all of the state’s cemeteries, hired Mr. Morgan to take over day-to-day operations. He has many years of experience as the manager of Pine Hill Cemetery on Davenport’s northeast side.
Mr. Morgan added there are about eight employees who work between Pine Hill and Fairmount.
For more information on the Fairmount Cemetery, visit fairmountcemeteryandcrematory.com.