An odd mixture of styles: the base is a sort of medieval-classical fantasy, from which sprouts a column with an Egyptian-style lotus capital, and on that stands an allegorical figure of Hope.
From any angle the Duncan mausoleum is impressive. There is nothing like it anywhere else in Pittsburgh—or, as far as old Pa Pitt knows, in the world. The architect was Theophilus P. Chandler Jr., the Philadelphia tastemaker who also designed First Presbyterian downtown and Third Presbyterian at Fifth and Negley in Shadyside. He seems to have been proud of this mausoleum: if you go looking for it on line, you will turn up Father Pitt’s pictures (of course), and then a large number of prints and postcards from the time the mausoleum was built.
Flower-dropping mourners are very common in our cemeteries, but this one is made of bronze and unusually fine.
A richly detailed example of Renaissance classicism, with rusticated blocks, arched entrance, “modern Ionic” columns (that is, Ionic columns with volutes at the four corners of the capitals), and flanking urns.
A tall shaft topped by an urn. The very Victorian design includes elaborate monograms and ample space for inscriptions, but no inscriptions were ever engraved. Instead, the McKees have individual headstones around the monument. Eleanor McKee died in 1877, and that may be the date of the monument as well; but from the style old Pa Pitt might guess that it is later, perhaps from 1892, when Eleanor’s husband John, the family patriarch, was buried. They had two children who died before either of them. All the McKees were buried with sentimentally illiterate rhymed epitaphs. The worst is for Samuel Sterrett McKee, who was born in 1861 and died in 1868:
CEASE DEAR PARENTS CEASE THY WEEPING
O’RE THE GRAVE WHERE I AM SLEEPING
FOR E’RE I LEFT MY HOME BELOW,
THE ANGELS WERE BECKONING ME TO GO.
Father Pitt counts two bad spellings and one grammatical error; he has given up the punctuation for lost.