Green Lawn Abbey
Latest restoration includes windows, brass doors
Kirby Tullos of Studio Arts & Glass in North Canton works to remove one of the stained glass windows at Green Lawn Abbey. The company is renovating the windows and hopes to reinstall them in November. Buy This Photo
The latest renovation project at Green Lawn Abbey covers precisely four windows and two double brass doors.
That might not seem like a lot, but every little bit helps in restoring the 85-year-old building, said Kate Matheny, president of the Columbus Cemetery Association.
The work is being done on the abbey in the Green Lawn Cemetery, 700 Greenlawn Ave., in south Columbus.
"We've come a long way in five years," Matheny said. "In five years, we're going to have a building you might not recognize today."
It's taken about half the decade to identify improvements, launch a capital campaign and begin the slow -- sometimes meticulous -- process of renovation, she said.
"Every time we do something, we learn something more,"Matheny said.
The cemetery group, which is working in concert with the Green Lawn Abbey Preservation Association, listed roughly $1 million in upgrades.
To date, the groups have raised $100,000, mostly through the National Park Service Certified Local Government grant and fundraisers, such as the annual magic show, Halloween tour and Great Gatsby lawn party with a classic car show.
The latest project involves removing four of 59 stained-glass windows, which will be refurbished for $19,000 at Studio Arts & Glass in North Canton. Brass doors -- a double set on each floor -- are being renovated for $16,000 at Durable Restoration on the North Side.
"We'remaking it relevant to the city, an asset to the surrounding community and raising money to make the building self-sustaining," Matheny said.
The property has fallen victim to neglect and has been the target of vandals, who have broken windows, some of which have been boarded up, others bricked over.
The remaining ones have steel grates in front of them, creating a visual barricade.
Matheny said the reconstructed windows will have clear plastic over them.
The mausoleum was built in 1927 and has 450 bodies interred there with 100 crypts that were purchased but never used, Matheny said.
The goal is to get the families to donate the crypts back to the preservation association so the group can sell the plots for cremated remains.
The overall goal is to make the facility a fully functioning mausoleum once again, with cremation burial plots located on the grounds, Matheny said.
Kirby Tullos, an artisan restorer with Studio Arts & Glass, said the craftsmanship of the mausoleum -- the ornate Vemont white and Tennessee pink marble, as well as the elaborate windows -- is impressive.
"It's cool to see a lot of different things from a lot of different places come together," he said.
The company plans to install the glass in November, followed by a Thanksgiving party to show the preservation association's appreciation for the continued support by the community.
"The whole idea is to show the work that has been accomplished there and to say thank you to everyone who has supported us, in particular people who live in the neighborhood and have businesses in the neighborhood," Matheny said. "We want them to come in and be part of what we love about the building."