G. E. Smith Mausoleum, Union Dale Cemetery

Here lie the earthly remains of Pittsburg Phil, as George E. Smith was known when he moved to Chicago.

The Union Dale Cemetery is full of colorful characters who grew rich in shady businesses—Allegheny was a notoriously corrupt city, and indeed one of the arguments often advanced by advocates of “Greater Pittsburgh” was that Allegheny needed a dose of good clean Pittsburgh government. We pause for the requisite howls of laughter.

Pittsburg Phil was less shady than many: he merely bet on horses, and he made millions doing so. He was famously impassive and disdained corruption of any sort. He commissioned this mausoleum when he was still in his thirties, doubtless imagining many years of satisfaction ahead of him in knowing that his final resting place would be one of the most elegant in the Union Dale Cemetery. In fact he died in 1905 at the age of forty-three. The cemetery’s site has his whole story, which is fascinating.

The statue on top is a portrait of the man himself, clutching a Racing Form. It was commissioned by his mother some time after his death. The fact that his urns are always filled with beautiful plantings suggests that even now, more than a century later, there are people who treasure the memory of Pittsburg Phil. Inside is a simple but elegant stained-glass window.

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