Crane Mausoleum

Richard T, Jr and Florence (Higinbotham) Crane

Crane Mausoleum doorsRichard was the son of Richard T Crane, Sr, an industrialist and founder of the Crane Company (1855 in Chicago) which manufactured plumbing supplies. Florence was the daughter of Harlow Niles Higinbotham, a partner in Marshall Field & Company and the president of the 1892 World’s Columbian Exposition (the iconic World’s Fair in Chicago).

Richard Jr was CEO of the Crane Company from 1914, shortly after his father died, until his own death in 1931. Though the company was based in Chicago and both had been born in the city, their lasting fame comes from the massive Crane Estate, known as The Great House at Castle Hill, in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

In 1910, Richard Jr purchased the estate which dated back to the mid-1600s and had been the property of a single family since 1745. The existing building was an Italianate-style mansion that Florence didn’t like, so they eventually razed it and had the massive Tudor Revival mansion built which still stands today. After her death in 1949, Florence left the property to the Trustees of Reservations, a private not-for-profit land conservation and historic preservation organization.

Crane Mausoleum interiorThough they lived primarily on the East Coast, both were returned to Graceland upon their deaths and entombed in this mausoleum which was designed by John Russell Pope, best known for the Jefferson Memorial and the National Archives building. Only Richard Jr and Florence are entombed here. They had 2 children: Cornelius Vanderbilt Crane (step-grandfather and eponym of actor Chevy Chase); and Florence whose second marriage was to a Russian prince. Both younger Cranes are buried in Ipswich.

The mausoleum sits sideways by the lake, a gorgeous Classical gem in white marble. The interior is pristine and elegant and clearly intended for more family members. One supposes the next generation simply didn’t feel the connection to Chicago strongly enough to want to have it be their final resting place. Please take note of the beautifully-carved pedestal holding a font, the leaded-glass window, and the animal-head details on the gates.

RIP Cranes

error: Content is protected !!