Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Day at the Mausoleum

I went off for two hours today to visit two mausoleums in San Diego to find and photograph the crypts or tombs of relatives of two correspondents. They had requested this via the query system on the Chula Vista Genealogical Society web page - here.

My first stop was the Cypress View Chapel and Mausoleum at 3953 Imperial Avenue in San Diego CA (92113). A nice fellow named Armond helped me out - he took me to the desk near the card file, and after we got the information, he escorted me across the street to the Mausoleum to find Emma Neff's (died 1928) tomb. We found it easily - about 12 feet up in the Garden Court Corridor A. It is about 8 feet long and 30 inches tall. He got a ladder and snapped a picture from about 10 feet up - good enough!

I also took this opportunity to find and take a picture of the niches of my grandparents (Lyle and Emily Carringer) and three great-grandparents (Henry Austin and Della Carringer, plus Georgia Auble) whose remains are also at Cypress View Mausoleum. Unfortunately, the picture isn't the best!.

I asked Armond about their filing system and he said it was only on 3x5 file cards with the name of the deceased, name and address of the owner of the niche or crypt, cost of the space, and location. They gave me a poor copy of Henry A. Carringer's card. The Carringers were in the Bronze Corridor, Section J, Niche 61. Georgia Auble was inurned with Lyle and Emily in Niche 62. The niche for Austin and Della Carringer was bought by Lyle Carringer for $419.95.

Armond said that there were about 20,000 "residents" of Cypress View in tombs, crypts and niches - they have no outside grave sites. The mausoleum that I went into is kept locked to prevent vandalism and urban outdoorsmen, and I got the impression that they don't go into it very often. Very quiet, I guess.

Then it was off to the largest cemetery in San Diego - Greenwood Memorial Park at 4300 Imperial Avenue in San Diego CA (92113). I was looking for Fred Hawman, his wife and daughters. Raul helped by getting the location of the crypt, drove us over to the mausoleum, and found the location for me. All four Hawman's were there and I got pictures for my correspondent. They were in the fifth tier - only ten feet up! No ladder this time.

Greenwood has over 100,000 residents in crypts, niches, graves with monuments or in-ground with a plaque. Again, they used a card file to get the location of the crypt and let me have the copy.

There are only limited transcriptions of the "residents" of these two cemeteries available on the Internet. It would be a big job to walk the grounds, and a big job to transcribe the card files.

As I've mentioned before, CVGS has produced a CDROM for Glen Abbey Memorial Park in Bonita near Chula Vista. It took over 10 years off and on before we finished the 35,000 residents. We are currently transcribing La Vista Cemetery in National City (just north of Chula Vista) and will have another CDROM in the next few years. Then we may need a new project!

For the "residents" of both of the mausoleums I visited, there are very few signs of visitors - there were no flowers on crypts or niches, and it sounded like they had few queries about these areas. Perhaps it is because of the age of the residents - most were interred there between 1920 and 1980.

Then it was off to Costco for lunch and browsing, K-Mart for shopping, and home for blodging, er, blogging. When I got home, I whipped the tomb photos off to my correspondents via email.

I sure wish that the residents of these crypts and niches could talk - could tell me all about the events, dreams, and successes of their lives.

1 comment:

Tex said...

I tried posting a comment right after this post and couldn't get it done. I'll try again.

I found this post very interesting--I've never seen mausoleums like this one and it was a reminder of how historical San Diego is--sounds like a fun day.