Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio

Dedicated to cemetery preservation in the great state of Ohio


"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been Removed therefrom and no bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Small Old Photo of an Unknown Receiving Vault at an Ohio Cemetery is a Mystery No More!



Sometimes we buy an item we didn't expect to find that at first glance doesn't seem to have too much merit but yet for some odd reason it speaks to us in unusual ways. That was the case for me when I recently saw a small dusty and dog-eared photo at a Washington Court House antique shop (scanned image posted below).  

Right away I noted the handwriting on the front: "Vault in Wash CH Cemetery" which I thought was kind of neat.  But when I turned it over, I saw just one handwritten word "wrong."  I thought well this is a mystery worth my time!  The photograph's price was only $1.00 so I knew I wouldn't feel too cheated if I could not unravel its mystery. 

After buying the photograph, I left the store and took a drive around the Washington Cemetery in Washington Court House hoping to prove the author's claim written on the front of it.  I left the cemetery defeated. 

So, afterward I decided to post the receiving vault photo's scanned image on the Facebook Group "Preserving Ohio's Cemeteries" asking for help identifying where it is located.  Within minutes, two kind group members posted that they thought it is a photo of the receiving vault at the Marion Cemetery in Marion Ohio.  


After conducting careful comparisons between the newer photographs I had seen online and the photograph I purchased, I felt that my photograph was indeed that of the Receiving Vault at the Marion Cemetery in Marion, Ohio.  

The darkened shadowy outline that can be seen directly behind the front gray stone with its gated doors, is the rest of the vault topped by a large cross -- all covered in vine type overgrowth. 

(Attribution: "Marion Cemetery Receiving Vault" by Nyttend - Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marion_Cemetery_Receiving_Vault.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Marion_Cemetery_Receiving_Vault.jpg)

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But that is not the end to this story.  There is much more yet to be learned about this old vault's history.  I discovered its documented connection to President Warren G. Harding and his wife, Florence.  This receiving vault was their temporary resting place from 1923 to 1927.

Furthermore, thanks to an Eagle Scout Project in 1993 to restore the Receiving Vault, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places before the end of 1995.

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My dollar investment led to receiving unexpected dividends that for me are priceless! 

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