Cleveland, OH

Giving Life to a 150-Year-Old Cemetery

Lake View Cemetery

Lake View Cemetery is celebrating 150 years of service to families in Cleveland. Cleveland Building Restoration partnered with Bricklayers Local 5 to give some of its iconic mausoleums a facelift.

The Challenge

President James A. Garfield. Legendary tycoon John D. Rockefeller. Mob buster Eliott Ness. The Lake View Cemetery is the final resting place for some truly famous people. For 150 years, this picturesque piece of property has not only played host to some of Cleveland’s most prominent funeral services, but it has also hosted events, fundraisers, 5Ks, and more. That’s why Cleveland Building Restoration jumped at the opportunity to help the cemetery look its best for its 150th anniversary celebration.

Partnering with Bricklayers Local 5, CBR offered to help restore some of the beautiful mausoleums on the property. When built, these were some of the most ornate and intricate structures in the city, but years of smog, pollution, and biological growth had taken its toll. They were originally brilliantly white and gray buildings, but the pollutants, mold, and mildew stained the brick and stone a dingy black. So, our first order of business? Tuckpointing and a bath for the mausoleums. Second order of business? Some caulking and restoration to help preserve the brick before further deterioration could occur.

Our Approach

CBR’s Vice President, Dean Lamb, and Project Manager, Mike Collins, supervised a team of about 7 to 10 of Bricklayer Local 5’s top apprentices on this weeklong restoration process on the mausoleums marked “W.J. Morgan” and “Pollock.” The task started with tuckpointing and then getting the buildings as clean as possible without causing damage to the delicate stone facades.

Just power washing with water wouldn’t be enough to get decades of grime off of the side of the mausoleums, so the team used Prosoco’s Heavy Duty Restoration Cleaner NE detergent to help eliminate the grime. They sprayed the solution on and waited about 5 minutes before rinsing, and the difference was immediately noticeable. Sheets of black soot and dirt poured down the building, and before you knew it, a shining structure was peeking out, and the luster of these magnificent structures was returning.

Next, the team worked on caulking to help restore and protect the mausoleums going forward. The masons had to be extremely careful when working on the stone because years of decay left it vulnerable to crumbling and erosion. The caulk helped seal off potential cracks and holes that would allow moisture to penetrate the mausoleums. With this work done, the goal is to have another 150 years of beauty out of these magnificent structures.

The Outcome

Everyone was thrilled with this project. The apprentices had an opportunity to leave the classroom and learn onsite. And, there are few projects more rewarding than those which allow you to restore community treasures like Lake View Cemetery. The clock was reset on these amazing structures. The before-and-after images are stunning, as the hands of time were reversed and the original visions of the architects who designed the buildings were restored. These buildings haven’t looked this good in decades, and visitors who are coming to these grounds for the first time during the 150-year anniversary will be treated to architecture the way it was intended to be viewed. These mausoleums can now truly serve their intended purpose: celebrating the lives of those who rest inside.

We take pride in the work we do, so to have our work recognized by the Construction Employers Association in their 2020 CEA Building Excellence Awards as a Bricklayers Category Winner was truly an honor.

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