FOCUS: Roger Williams Park Mausoleum and Oakland Cemetery in Cranston, Rhode Island

This came through on Facebook and I just wanted to share it. Watch the video. Remember, this is what happens when people don’t remember cemeteries matter! It might not be your cup of tea, but this could be Y O U if you choose a casket. (I’m going ashes, tyvm!)

Disclaimer: I have ZERO personal knowledge of this cemetery, don’t have family there and am only doing this to raise awareness of the dead that paid to rest in PEACE. Not have their bones on display, rotting in plain site. Likely some caskets have also been robbed of potential valuables. Remember, do YOU want YOUR family treated this way? The links below have been vetted and are reputable news agencies or bloggers who have some awareness of this issue.

Perhaps a GofundMe page, a good negotiator with a land owner and funeral home to reinter, and get these people some REST and PEACE. Ensure there’s funding to preserve them for a long time and enough to keep the Trust going. If genealogists pitched in, but also some celebrities. Get some national attention. This could be handled in a jiffy. It doesn’t take over 15 years to deal with this. And (the City officials of) Cranston, your repeated lack of action is REPREHENSIBLE! … In the meantime, here’s my contribution.

The TikTok video of the mausoleum at Roger Williams Park mausoleum that brought his to my attention. MUST WATCH

I did a quick Google on some of the info on the web and was horrified to learn about this going on at least since 2005, that I can quickly document below.

Here is the Find a Grave for the Roger Williams Park Mausoleum

Nov 2021 update on the state of the property. Also more history of the troubled past.

2021 local report City officials meeting with state officials about the long condemned mausoleum

2021 report about the mausoleum, citing news outlets have been covering this story since 2005! If you scroll to about the middle of the article, they’ve embedded the 2005 video article about this. The owner died in 2003 and left no money, etc. they’ve been reporting on it for 15 years and NOTHING has been done!

May 2020 Warwick residents may be within mausoleum

Sep 2019 family talks about moving relatives out

Jul 2019 local report on the timeline of the problems at this location.

Jul 2019 (updated Dec 2019) report about trying to move the dead to another location.

2011 imortuary write up about the site “crumbling to dust”.

There’s so many more videos that could be posted, some as long as 15 mins, about the state of this mausoleum. NO ONE can say “we didn’t know about this”. NO ONE! This is beyond disgraceful. While going through the articles, thee are so many talking about their family members who were WW1 and WW2 veterans, some even Purple Heart recipients.

One Facebook group member, Paula Hint Easton wrote a message to the Mayor of Cranston and got this reply (used with express permission from Ms Easton)

“So I got this back from the Mayor’s office” (using this initial format to contact them):

Thank you for your email to Mayor Hopkins’ office.

The City does not own the mausoleum, but has taken on the care of it as a Cranston monument. So you know, the media, especially Channel 12, has done many stories on the mausoleum to assist the City on reaching out to the community to find relatives of those deceased; only a couple of dozen have come forward out of a few hundred families. We have also worked with local funeral homes to remove deceased and relocate them, and the City has asked the Governor’s office to assist us with the remaining. There has been a massive effort over the past years on the City’s part to keep it from being vandalized without disrespecting the integrity of the building and those deceased. Unfortunately, vagrants and young people continue to make their way inside without any regard for the deceased. Our CPD has also spent much time there patrolling and answering calls from neighbors when it has been compromised.

A cleanup on the outside of the mausoleum has been completed and to protect the inside, we are now forced to permanently cement the windows of the building to keep people out. And we are aggressively working with the State and local funeral homes to try and remove the remaining deceased.

Paula

If you feel the need to question our efforts further, please feel free to contact me directly to do so.”


While we’re on the topic of Cranston, apparently the in-ground cemetery is in bad shape also. So here’s info on the Oakland Cemtery also in Cranston. I could find articles about this cemetery back to 2014.

Here is the Find a Grave main page for the Oakland cemetery

A 2021 local news report about trash covering gravesites in the burial section

2021 report appearing to respond to the report just above this one.

Jan 2021 looks like the Men’s Club stepped up to clean up portions

2020 local report about cleaning but the grounds owners can’t be contacted

2014 blogpost about the cemetery conditions being run down, even the Yelp reviews “I wouldn’t bury my dog here”

Please share. Also, please consider adopting a cemetery, even a few graves, in your immediate area. Remember, you may be watching over someone else’s family while someone watches over yours.

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