Five Most Famous Mausoleums in the United States
Mausoleums are one of the most iconic cemetery features. Known alternately as tombs, vaults, catacombs, and crypts, the term is used to describe any place of burial that stands as a separate building. They are often large enough to hold multiple bodies, and it is common for families to own their own mausoleums as a way to bury several generations in one location.
Worldwide, the most famous mausoleum is probably the Taj Mahal, which was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his dearly departed wife. Although the United States does not have anything quite up to the Taj Mahal standards, it does boast a few impressive burial grounds worth a visit.
- Grant’s Tomb: This mausoleum was constructed in 1897 to commemorate the death of Ulysses S. Grant, the Civil War general and 18th President of the United States. It stands in New York City and sees thousands of visitors every year.
- Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii: Located in Honolulu, the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii is also known as Mauna ʻAla (or Fragrant Hills). It is the final resting place of two of the royal families in Hawaii’s history. It was built in 1893 as a burial site for the four-year-old prince whose death was greatly mourned.
- Lincoln Tomb: Second only to Grant’s Tomb in terms of popularity, the Lincoln Tomb houses the remains of President Abraham Lincoln, his wife, and three of their sons. It is located in Illinois and is run by the state as a National Historic Landmark.
- McKinley National Memorial: Another mausoleum constructed to house the remains of a former U.S. president, McKinley National Memorial was built in 1907 to serve as the final resting place of William McKinley. Located in his home state of Ohio, this mausoleum does not see quite as many tourists but was once famous for the long reflecting pools extending out the front.
- Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun: Few people know much about the history of Spencer Penrose, the Colorado Springs philanthropist who is buried in the Shrine of the Sun, but his mausoleum is one of the most unusual pieces of cemetery architecture in the United States. It was built without wood or nails, and towers five stories into the air.
As you can tell from the above list, most of the famous mausoleums in the United States were built to commemorate presidents and other prominent leaders of the past. Today’s mausoleums tend to be a little more low-key and private, often tucked away on private property or in cemeteries where high rates of tourism are discouraged.