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Biddle and Kerens Mausolea, Calvary Cemetery

Update: See the Biddle Mausoleum from March of 2015.

North of Bellefontaine Cemetery is Calvary Cemtery. Calvary has a couple of interesting mausolea I discovered last week while I searched for Dred Scott’s grave in vain.  The Biddle Mausoleum, which I garnered from its text panel on the front entry, was originally downtown but was moved with other graves after the infamous cholera epidemic.  I don’t know if that is correct or not, but the two spouses interred here: Thomas Biddle, and Anne Mullanphy Biddle, represent the wedding of two prominent early St. Louis families.

Thomas Biddle died in a duel on Bloody Island, after serving with distinction in the War of 1812; there is a rump of a street left named after him.

The Mullanphy family has left a built legacy throughout the city, in buildings that reached out to immigrants: the Mullanphy Tenement, and the Mullanphy Emigrant Home.  The mausoleum is in desperate need of restoration funds.

I had never heard of the Kerens family, so I looked into their history in St. Louis.  It turns out that it refers to Richard C. Kerens, a successful Irish-American, judge, railroad baron, ambassador, as well as other professions.  He died in 1916, which would stylistically corroborate with the architecture of his august mausoleum.

8 Comments

  1. THE BIDDLE MAUSOLEUM WAS IN THE GROUNDS OF THE HOME OF ANN MULLANPHY BIDDLE ON CASS AVE. THE HOME WAS DONATED TO THE VISITATION NUNS WHO LATER MOVED WEST TO A LARGE CONVENT ON CABANNE AVE . SOMETIME IN THIS PERIOD 1860s – 1890s IT WAS MOVED TO CALVARY CEM.

    • That is really helpful! I was just looking at a picture of the old Visitation Convent last week! I did not realize that was Ms. Mullanphy Biddle’s land.

  2. Do you have a picture of the Kerns Mausoleum brass doors before they disappeared and the plywood was installed? Mary

    • Oh, THIS was the mausoleum whose doors were stolen! Let me look and see. I don’t think I do, but I might.

  3. Did you find a print of the Richard Kerens mausoleum (the one that had its door stolen)? There was one on an older website but the Archdiocese has removed the whole website. There is a small picture on Find-a-Grave but it does not do the doors justice.
    G

  4. How does one get away with turning that door in for scrap metal? Hopefully Mr. Kerens ghost haunts those thieves!

    • Since this mausoleum’s significance was brought to my attention, I have done more research, and I have discovered that the architecture and decorative arts were incredibly famous in 1916 when the building was completed. I do not think the doors were stolen by scrappers, but rather by organized art thieves who specifically targeted this mausoleum due to their historical significance, passing up many other much easier pieces of metal available to steal in the cemetery.

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