Miskiewicz Mausoleum, St. Adalbert’s Cemetery

There is one splendid mausoleum in St. Adalbert’s, a Polish Catholic cemetery, and it stands out not only for being the only one in the cemetery, but also for not closely resembling any other mausoleum in Pittsburgh. It looks as though it was built by Polish craftsmen who decided they could build a mausoleum as well as anybody, and went ahead to prove that they could. The result is a style that is hard to describe, so Father Pitt will go ahead and name it “Polish Ionic.”

The wooden doors are not original; as usual, the bronze doors were stolen (a fine picture of the original doors is here). One wonders how it is possible that metal recyclers ask no questions when scruffy-looking men bring in huge bronze doors on the back of a broken-down pickup. At any rate, someone deserves great credit for replacing the doors rather than simply bricking up the entrance with concrete blocks, as has been done to nearly all the mausoleums in the South Side Cemetery next door. Old Pa Pitt would not have chosen the diagonal boards, and he would have painted the doors verdigris color.

The Polish language is mysterious to Father Pitt, so he does not know what the initials Ks. Wł. stand for. There are no records for St. Adalbert’s Cemetery. According to the Carrick and Overbrook Wiki, “The caretaker, who was fired, took all the records with her and either destroyed them or kept them. She has since died and the records are gone.” That Wiki page also has pictures of the beautiful gate that was removed only a few years ago.

2 responses to “Miskiewicz Mausoleum, St. Adalbert’s Cemetery”

  1. I came upon your pages with these pictures and information quite by accident. Before reading your notes, my first reaction was: ” that must be the most beautiful mausoleum ever built for a priest in the Pittsburgh area!” You see that is because Ks. is the Polish abbreviation for “priest”, the traditional/title/designation of the Polish People for their Clergy. Ks. Bp, Priest Bishop is another variation, and actually Fr. Miskiewicz’s should read: Ks. Pb. Priest Pastor. because he was indeed the amazing first permanent pastor for St Adalbert Parish, and an outstanding promoter of helping Polish immigrant societies establish parishes for themselves from New Kensington all the way south to Wheeling , W.Va.

    Father Ladislaus (Wladyslaw in Polish) Miskiewicz, a young Polish Roman Catholic immigrant priest, arrived at Saint Adalbert Church to assume responsibilities as the first permanent resident pastor on August 22, 1885. Several other priests had been assigned to the parish for 3 or 4 months of service since it’s founding in 1883. He soon commanded the love and cooperation of his parishioners. Two years after his appointment, Father Miskiewicz bought a new plot of land for $8,000. Located between 14th and 15th Street, it was to become the site of the present day church which began in 1889 and was built at a cost of $80,000. The Church is a magnificent, Romanesque structure — 130 feet long and 82 feet wide — and could at one time seat over 1,000 people. Stained-glass windows enhanced the side walls and a rose window dominated the facade above the gallery. Originally two church spires, each 150 feet from ground to pinnacle, stood high above the Borough of Birmingham as witness to the faith of the Polish Catholic Americans. Five harmonizing bells were installed in the belfries. Of the five, the largest was named “Ladislaus” and remains as a symbol of Father Miskiewicz’s generosity. He also personally paid for the original main wooden Gothic altar of the new church. He also established the parish school starting with classrooms in his rectory basement, and was educating 600 pupils in several school buildings by 1900. The school was staffed by the Felician Sisters whom he invited aka begged to come to PA from Detroit MI in 1888.

    On August 26, 1900, the parishioners of Saint Adalbert Church celebrated the 15th anniversary
    of Father Miskiewicz as pastor. The ceremony was a well-merited tribute expressed by his faithful flock. All members of the various parish organizations, some wearing uniforms, paraded through the streets of South Side. A congratulatory program presented by school children and adults followed solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacra¬ment. For the times, it was a remarkable achievement for a Polish-American parish priest to have held a position as pastor for fifteen consecutive years He was to persevere for six more years until his death in 1906

    Wieczny Odpoczynek przyznanie mu Boże i niech światłość wiekuista na niego . Niech jego dusza i dusze wszystkich wiernych zmarłych przez miłosierdzie Boże Spoczywaj w pokoju !

    Eternal Rest grant unto him O God, and let the Perpetual Light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the Mercy of God rest in peace!

  2. Regarding the Miskiewicz mausoleum in St. Adalbert Cemetery in the Carrick section of Pittsburgh. The inscription “KS. WL. Miskiewicz”: “KS.” is an abbreviation for ‘ksiądz” which means “Reverend” in Polish, and “WL” is short for “Władysław”. The Latin for “Władysław” is Ladislaus. My guess is that this is (or was) the resting place of Father Ladislaus Miskiewicz, that pastor of St. Adalbert Parish from 1885-1906 (his death). Under Father Miskiewicz, the land of the present cemetery was purchased. He also accomplished numerous other achievements for the parish. Reference http://liturgicalcenter.org/media/parish_pdf/PIT/pit-1.1.pdf.

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