On Memorial day there’s a sort of secret place to explore that most locals don’t even know about. Wilhelm’s Memorial Mausoleum has been operating for over a century, and one day a year they invite the public to explore their expansive grounds and pay respect to those who came before, and admire their final resting place. I learned about this place through a friend the year before, and marked my calendar for 365 days in the future, as I just couldn’t miss this opportunity. She told me there are various rooms corresponding with eras, but nothing could really prepare for just how many room there are. Eight floors built into the side of the hill, you would never guess there’s such a thing if you passed the more or less unassuming building above ground.
First of all, she suggested starting backwards in time, and while I didn’t get the chance to do that, I’d agree. Don’t even step into the chapel area, there’s a preview of the older urns and decor, start from contemporary and watch the modern aesthetic flow into the flowery opulence of the Victorian era. Ask an employee, they’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
I was with family so we took a tour, which starts in the chapel and goes down into the Victorian rooms. I would also recommend going backwards in time because going straight into the Victorian is a lot to handle! Ten minutes into the tour I got lost. Like literally lost in a mausoleum, I strayed a little too long, and bam, not a living soul in sight. So I wandered for the better part of two hours, just me and my camera, and took in the vast expanse of sights rarely seen. There are eight floors, and as much time as I spent, I didn’t even see it all. The views in and out (wetlands and oaks park in the distance) are mesmerizing, and there are so many twists and turns, it’s not like a straight building in a hill, with staircases vertically aligned, it’s a maze of sorts, I would enter a room and end up on the complete opposite end of the property as I’d imagined. So definitely not recommended for little ones that like to wander off.
These photos are part 1 with more coming soon, and feature the older areas of the mausoleum, and be sure to mark your calendars! It’s not to be missed.