Tombs have been used throughout time to hold remains of the deceased. In prehistoric times, the dead were buried under their houses, which may have led to the development of tombs. The chamber was the earliest form of a tomb and they were covered by mounds of earth. 
Tombs eventually became more elaborate as civilizations developed. Egyptian pyramids, for instance, were built before 2000 B.C. for the pharaohs. The word, mausoleum, is derived from the great tomb built at Halicarnassus (now Bodrum, Turkey) for King Mausolus in 353 B.C. These examples are two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  Mausoleums built during the Middle Ages were either extensions of churches or buildings within churches. During the Renaissance and Post-Renaissance, mausoleums became free standing buildings, in churchyards or near churches, but most were separate from the church. 
There are many great mausoleums in the world; one of the most famous is the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. This mausoleum was built between 1632 and 1648 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The Taj Mahal is a domed mausoleum built with white marble and inlaid with gemstones.  New York's Grant's Tomb, completed in 1897 is another example of a luxurious mausoleum. 
In 1912, the mayor and council members of Cedar Falls gave Greenwood Cemetery permission to build a mausoleum. Martin J. Van Tilburg was the principal promoter of its construction and Cecil E. Buyan from Chicago served as chief engineer on the project. The building was designed by G. Stanley Cunning, an architect from Cedar Falls. 
The Mausoleum is a block type building done in a simple Egyptian Revival style with two wings on the east and west side of the building connected by a chapel. Ground breaking for the Mausoleum began on October 4, 1912 and construction was completed a year later. The Mausoleum is 102 feet long from the east to the west wings, and both wings are 31 feet wide, with the chapel measuring 38 feet across. The exterior is made of concrete and steel, covered with Blue Bedford Stone. The interior is marble with bronze trimmings. The construction of the Mausoleum did not use any wood so the building would last longer. 
The Mausoleum contains a total of 268 vaults, and 24 niches for Cremation Urns, which are to the right and left of the front doors, stretching from the middle of the wall to the ceiling. Each vault is equipped with a sanitary ventilation system to keep the vault dry and to allow gasses from bodies to escape. All in all, the total cost to build the Greenwood Mausoleum was $30,000; however, maintenance has cost a lot more since then. 
Greenwood Mausoleum's exterior has a stained glass window above the thick double, wooden doors with a cross centered in the middle. Inside, a waist high marble pulpit faces the entrance. Three rectangular stained glass windows on the right and left walls of the chapel are directly below the ceiling; they have a cross design. The roof of the chapel is high and slightly curved, coming to a point in the center.  To the right and left of the pulpit are two private family compartments, although only one of the family compartments is occupied. Both compartments have stained glass windows which are narrow and curved to a point at the top of the window.
The Mausoleum has two wings, both of which contain two semi-private compartments. In front of each crypt is a shelf which stretches the full length of each wing and is approximately six inches in width. At the end of each wing is a large stained glass window with a tree centered in the middle symbolizing life.
The Greenwood Mausoleum has faced several problems throughout the years. Perhaps the most serious occurred in 1976, when there was a dispute over who owned the land on which the Mausoleum had been built because repairs were needed and it was not clear how they would be paid for. Martin J. Van Tilburg was deeded property of the land by the city of Cedar Falls in 1912 and he had agreed to set aside an endowment fund. However, Tilburg ran into financial difficulty, and the land was deeded to Charles H. Rodenbach at some point during construction, and he secured the unsold tombs and crypts in the Mausoleum.  In 1931, the land on which the Mausoleum is built was deeded back to the city of Cedar Falls. Rodenbach had died in 1930. 
Rodenbach's estate came into the possession of the Cedar Falls Trust and Savings Bank, where a maintenance fund of $1,700 was found for the Mausoleum. According to the Bank, they were only responsible for the unsold tombs and crypts, which left responsibility for the occupied tombs and crypts in question.  At some point during the late 1970's, the city did take possession of the Greenwood Mausoleum; however, the time this occurred is unclear. 
Vandalism has also been a problem at the Mausoleum. The worst incident came in 1964, when two boys, aged eleven and thirteen, shot pellets through the stained glass windows causing an estimated $1,000 in damage. 
The Greenwood Mausoleum had major repairs in 1977. A firm from Vinton and a Cedar Falls crew repaired the Mausoleum at a cost of $4,996. The Schoonover Tuck Point Company worked on the interior by sandblasting the marble and secured the marble slabs while weather-proofing the joints in the roof. To pay for these repairs, the city of Cedar Falls solicited contributions from families who had vaults in the Mausoleum. 
Greenwood Mausoleum has not proved very successful. Most of the crypts purchased were done so before the mausoleum had been constructed. The last interment was in the late 1980's. There are no more burials in the Mausoleum and cremations are only allowed if the person already owns the crypt. At this time there are no plans to tear down the Mausoleum, but it does need a new roof and the front entrance stairway needs repairs. If the Mausoleum is ever torn down, the section across from the front of the building will be where the remains will be re-interred. 
 "Tomb," Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. (Microsoft Corporation),1996.
 Curl, James Stevens. A Celebration of Death. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,1980) 168.
 "Indian Art and Architecture," Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia.
"Grant, Ulysses S(impson)," Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia.
 Cedar Falls Historical Society Archives, Series XX, Box 2, Folder 11, GreenwoodCemetery Dedication, 1913.
 Mittelstadt, Mark. "Mausoleum Ready for last Rites?", The Cedar Falls Record, September 2, 1976, 1.
 Mittelstadt, Mark. "Records show city owns land under deteriorating mausoleum",The Cedar Falls Record, September 4, 1976, 3.
 Interview with Rusty Roberts, Cedar Falls Cemetery Supervisor, October 26 1998.
 CFHSA, Series XX, Box 2, Folder 11, "Two Boys Break out Stained Glass Windows in Greenwood Site", March 16, 1964.
 "Once Endangered mausoleum will soon be open to public", The Cedar Falls Record, November 18, 1977, 3.
 Interview with Rusty Roberts, Cedar Falls Cemetery Supervisor, October 26, 1998.
Cedar Falls Historical Society Archives, Series XX, Box 2, Folder 11, Greenwood Cemetery Dedication, 1913.
Cedar Falls Historical Society Archives, Series XX, Box 2 Folder 11, "Two Boys Break out Stained Glass Windows in Greenwood Site", March 16, 1964.
Curl, James Stevens. A Celebration of Death. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,1980, 168.
Microsoft Encarta Encylcopedia, 1996 ed., s.v. "Grant, Ulysses S(impson)," "Indian Art and Architecture," "Tomb".
Mittelstadt, Mark. "Mausoleum Ready for Last Rites?", The Cedar Falls Record,September 2, 1976, 1.
Mittelstadt, Mark. "Records show city owns land under deteriorating mausoleum", The Cedar Falls Record, September 4, 1976, 3.
"Once Endangered Mausoleum will soon be open to public", The Cedar Falls Record, November 18, 1977, 3.
Roberts, Rusty, Cedar Falls Cemetery Supervisor, October 26, 1998.
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