About 103 years ago, men and horses labored to wheel tons of granite and marble up to Calvary Cemetery — building materials for Mankato’s first private mausoleum.

A mausoleum is a free-standing building, usually large and stately, for housing a tomb or tombs. In the United States, the term may be used for a burial vault beneath another building, typically a church.

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India is the world’s most famous and most photographed mausoleum. Originally, mausolea were built for deceased leaders or persons of importance. But smaller versions eventually came to be popular with gentry and nobility in many countries.

Recently Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller was given a copy of a Mankato Free Press article from August 13, 1914. The article reports that finishing touches were being applied to a mausoleum under construction for the late Dr. Peter Follman, a prominent physician. (Editor’s note — the mausoleum photo shows “Follmann” with a double “n” but all newpaper references to the man show his name as “Follman.”)

This contribution lends a nice historical perspective to one of Calvary’s most notable, expensive and prominent monuments. From the article itself:

Finishing touches are begin put on the first private mausoleum ever built in Mankato, that of late Dr. Peter Follman, in Calvary Cemetery. This is a beautiful piece of architecture, of dark gray Barre granite from Vermont. The structure is thirteen and a half by twelve feet in extent and fourteen feet high. It required three carloads of granite to finish it. Most of the blocks reach almost the entire length of one side. The blocks weigh six thousand to thirteen thousand pounds each. They were hauled up that great hill by means of wagons, six horses being required on each wagon.

The interior of the mausoleum is veneered with high-grade imported marble from Italy. At the back is a beautiful art window of stained glass. On the interior there are two marble crypts. The floor is mosaic. At the front of the mausoleum is a double door of standard bronze, one inch thick. On the front of the structure, at each side of this double door, stands an ornamental pillar. On the outside, about the doors, one a tablet, is engraved the name, Dr. Follman.

Mayor A.G. Meyer has the contract for the construction of the mausoleum and the entire work has been done under his personal direction. 

The casket, containing the body of the doctor, was disinterred yesterday, and will be placed in the mausoleum. 

Other Mankato Free Press articles from the same contributor give us a great amount of detail on Dr. Follman and his wife, Mrs. Catherine Follman. Dr. Follman died on May 17, 1911 at the approximate age of 75. Cause of death was the last of a series of strokes. He was an immigrant from Luxembourg and settled in Mankato in 1869.

“Dr. Follman was one of the best known men in the vicinity. He always enjoyed a very large practice and was most successful,” states the article, going on to describe him as “a large man physically and mentally” with a kind-hearted nature and active in the development of the town.

More on Dr. Follman in our next installment…