Drexel (1792-1863) founded the plutocratic banking family based in Philadelphia. He was also an artist, having come to finance later in life; certainly it was not an artist’s living that paid for the classicizing pile that serves as his mausoleum (figure 1).

Figure 1. Drexel mausoleum. Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA. Photo: author.

The mausoleum is in the form of a classical temple on the transverse plan, meaning that the cella (the main room) is wider than long. An obvious model would have been the Temple of Concord in Rome.

Figure 2. Drexel mausoleum 3/4 view. Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA. Photo: author.

The floor plan is suited to funerary architecture, in that it permits an open central space behind the door with niches for coffins or caskets sliding in lengthwise into the side masses. This is a particularly grand example, but we see the same plan, for example, in the Root mausoleum in Omaha, Nebraska. There is no rear window.

The mausoleum is well set off on its small rise, and a marble precinct wall separates the plot from the circular path that surrounds it. The trees at the rear are healthy but terribly overgrown.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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