Tag: Steen

  • Steen Vault, Chartiers Cemetery

    Steen name over the vault

    A unique Victorian interpretation of the Baroque style—unique in Pittsburgh, at any rate, as far as old Pa Pitt knows. The date of the mausoleum is 1874, which is the year of the first interment there.

    Steen vault
    Steen vault
    Plaque on the vault

    The front probably had bronze doors, now stolen. This plaque, however, should last a good long time. It records that the first interment was David C. Steen, who died the year the mausoleum was built (according to the date over the door). He was probably the son of David and Mary Dickson Steen, who may have built this extravagant vault in mourning for their 21-year-old son.

    It would be interesting to know how the Reeds and the rest came to be in this vault.

    These were families who were no strangers to tragedy. Of eleven names recorded here, six—a majority—died before the age of thirty.

    Steen vault
    Rear of the Steen vault
  • Steen Mausoleum, Chartiers Cemetery

    The best way to describe this style is probably “Baroque”: it’s a splendid half-underground mausoleum, of the type usually called a “burial vault” in the days when such things were built. It’s the only one in the Chartiers Cemetery, which was founded in 1861.

    The front bears the date 1874, which suggests that the vault was built originally for David C. Steen, who died at the age of 20 or 21 in that year. An Emma M. Lappe Steen died the next year, also at the age of 20 or 21; did a young widow never recover from her loss? In fact, the mere dates tell us a good deal about the appalling mortality even among the well-to-do in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In a list of eleven names, four lived past the age of thirty.

    In a later article we have more pictures of the Steen mausoleum.