Mr. Shields decided to take his favorite pinup girl with him to the grave. A stout wooden beam apparently holding up the ceiling of the mausoleum stands in the way of the view of this window; Father Pitt has therefore stitched this picture together from two separate pictures, and the seam is obvious. But the window is unusual enough that we can tolerate a substandard photograph.
This extraordinarily tasteful Renaissance octagon (built in 1925) is so unusual that Father Pitt suspects it may be based on a historical model. He would be delighted if one of his readers could find the original and point it out to him. John Robison McCune III was a banker, head of one of the biggest banks in the city (Union National, which after being devoured by Integra and National City is now part of PNC).
The interior is as elegant as the exterior. McCune took nothing of his private life with him to the grave—no Masonic or even religious symbols. His mausoleum, including the exceptionally fine window, is dedicated solely to beauty.
This gorgeous Pre-Raphaelite window is at the back of the George J. Schmitt mausoleum in the Union Dale Cemetery, where the rich and influential of Allegheny City went to slumber in eternal style. Its Grail imagery seems to combine two forms of the Grail legend (the Grail as cup of the Last Supper and the grail as mystical jewel). The legend below reads, “Unto thee O Lord do I lift up my soul.”
Anyone worth knowing in the Union Dale cemetery has stained glass in his mausoleum. In fact, for a while in the early 1900s, it was fashionable to have a portrait of the deceased rendered in glass.
Here, for example, is Mr. William H. Walker (1841-1904), who was apparently a proud Shriner. His portrait has deteriorated a little, but not so much that you would not recognize him at once if you met him in the street.
Mr. William H.Teets (1845-1906; perhaps stained-glass portraits were offered only to men named William H.) has also deteriorated a little, but the portrait is still lifelike enough that you can almost feel the macassar oil.
Cherubs and lilies adorn the mausoleum of the McLain family. The cherubs’ faces seem to be executed with a degree of skill that the rest of the composition lacks; perhaps they were ordered from a catalogue.
There are some who would question the wisdom, or the taste, of building an extravagant monument to the memory of the deceased. Father Pitt would like to suggest, however, that money laid out on art that is still giving us pleasure after a century is hardly misspent.