The Miller mausoleum in Spring Forest Cemetery in Binghamton, New York, is a nice, neat little example of the Egyptian Revival style (figure 1). Snap! For a record and for later study, and on to something more provocative.

Figure 1. Miller mausoleum. Spring Forest Cemetery, Binghamton, N.Y. Photo: author.

Sadly, the window of the front door is incredibly filthy with encrusted grime on both sides. I was able to brush off the outer face with the chip brush I carry, but most of the window is so opaque it’s almost impossible to see the inner window at the mausoleum’s rear. A great deal of jockeying about brought my eye to a place where I could just make out the window–pyramids behind a Nile scene. This accords well with the style, and is rare enough to be worth recording. For a landmark example, see here.

Figure 2. Miller mausoleum, rear window, transmitted light. Spring Forest Cemetery, Binghamton, N.Y. Photo: author.

I exploited the tiny lens of my iPhone to get a picture, which is still pretty awful even after all of the might and magic of technology has been brought to bear upon the image. I was thinking of this as a great loss (figure 2)! But it occurred to me that the sun was behind the mausoleum, and perhaps I could get something in reflected light. And I did, and after deep frying the colors, it turned out to be quite beautiful (figure 3).

Figure 3. Miller mausoleum, rear window in reflected light. Spring Forest Cemetery, Binghamton, N.Y. Photo: author.

So let’s call that a salvage operation.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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2 Comments

  1. When I roam the cemeteries and see the tombstones and mausoleums in NEPA and beyond, I am basically looking for the remnant of the work of my family. An immigrant from southeast Italy, my grandfather established a memorial company in Hazleton and for decades was responsible for the marble work in the region’s cemeteries. His work was handed down to my uncle and then my uncle’s son. When the fourth generation decided not to pick up the family work, the old art died but for the beautiful work, much like you identified in Binghamton. The pieces you found are lovely and fascinating. Thanks for reminding me of magnificent art, even in unsuspecting places, and more importantly, for jogging my memory about my roots.

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    1. Fascinating! Do you remember what company your relatives worked for? I’m always trying to tie monuments to ateliers. It’s interesting how the Italians provided so many of the talented masons. And it’s so sad that skilled cutters are so rare now, and that monument houses are dependent on computerized cutting.

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