Sunday, September 23, 2012

The other Lockwood building

George and Sarah Lockwood moved out of their signature building (here and here) on Chariton's square more than a century ago, but still are in residence in their other signature building --- this modest vault with a grand bronze nameplate in the far northwest corner of the Chariton Cemetery.

I have been told, but can't prove, that their names are inscribed on the vault door, but if that is the case two coats of stucco between 1910 and 2012 have covered them.

Sarah died Oct. 11, 1909, of what then was called a "complication of diseases" (everything that could go wrong, had) in the uptown Lockwood Building's apartment --- which had been built as the couple's home durng 1904 --- and her remains were placed in the Stanton Vault, a mausoleum some distance east of the Lockwoods' current address.

It seems likely that George already was planning this small building as a final resting place at the time, but he didn't live long enough to see it completed. After Sarah's death, his health failed, too, and he was taken by his son to Peoria, Ill., where he died on June 2, 1910. George's body was returned to Chariton and placed with Sarah's in the Stanton Vault pending completion of this little building. When it was done, they moved in --- and have been here since.

This is not the most attractive corner of the Chariton Cemetery and it's hard to figure out why it was chosen. At the time, however, it was a more aspirational neighborhood. Smith H. Mallory's imposing Celtic cross --- shipped along with his remains to Florida during the 1920s --- still towered just to the southeast during 1909-10.

Although structures like this may seem like good ideas at the time, more often than not, they're not. At some point the Lockwood Vault began to fall apart --- and there was no one left in Lucas County to foot the bill for its repair.

A similar difficulty developed with the far grander Stanton Vault. It was demolished and the dozen or so occupants who had planned to sail through eternity in a stately manner --- including the Stantons --- were buried unceremoniously in a heap where it once had stood.

In the case of the Lockwood vault, cemetery officials were able to contact descendants and work out a trade. If the Lockwoods deeded to the cemetery the real estate surrounding the vault, the cemetery staff would fix it up. That was when the first coat of stucco was applied. The stucco in place now is brand new, replacing that first coat that had begun to crack and fall away.

So it looks like George and Sarah are secure in their vault for perhaps another 100 years. Hopefully their other building --- on the square --- will experience similar good fortune.

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