The McKeesport and Versailles Cemetery is one of the most picturesque rural cemeteries in the Pittsburgh area. This entrance gate takes us from the mundane and depressed world of downtown McKeesport into a fantasy landscape where all is serenity. What more appropriate way to make the transition than through a gate that is itself a Gothic fantasy, with a gatehouse that looks like something from our favorite book of fairy tales?
Old Pa Pitt loves McKeesport with an unreasoning love. It was once the second city of Allegheny County, and it was the center of its own distinct Mon Valley metropolitan area that was quite different from Pittsburgh culturally, The city had its own traditions, and—what is relevant here—its own architects and artisans. The mausoleums in the McKeesport and Versailles Cemetery, a small but splendid rural cemetery just outside downtown McKeesport, are quite different in style from the ones in Pittsburgh cemeteries.
Here, for example we have a mausoleum that Father Pitt must confess he cannot really classify. It has the sloping sides and general shape of an Egyptian mausoleum; it has rusticated stone that suggests Romanesque architecture, and columns with medieval capitals; and it has a Chippendale open pediment that suggests the baroque. Yet in this curious mishmash there is no disharmony. It looks the way it ought to look. Father Pitt does not know whether this was the design of a local architect or a mausoleum from a dealer’s stock catalogue, but he does know that he has never seen anything like it in Pittsburgh.