Fairmount Cemetery: Part 2


Newark is blessed with two fine Victorian Era cemeteries, Fairmount and Mt. Pleasant. In October 2005 I wrote one of my first Newarkology features on Fairmount Cemetery and have simply taken too long to get back to this urban oasis. (see my first tour) My original tour contained some of the history of Fairmount, but skipped several major Fairmount graves and monuments. Since I have already covered the history of Fairmount cemetery, in this tour I will merely cover some of the famous persons and graves here.

There are two overlapping types of memorials that I am going to devote space to on this feature. Some graves earn their spot here by belonging to famous people. Other graves earn their spot here by being artistically beautiful.

Clara Louise Maass was born in East Orange, New Jersey in 1876 to devout German-American parents. She graduated from the Newark German Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1895 and quickly rose to being head nurse of Newark German Hospital. In 1898, at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War and flush with patriotism, Maass began a career as an army nurse, following the flag to Florida, Cuba, and then the Philippines.

As an army nurse, Maass saw few battle injuries, but many victims of epidemic diseases. In 1900 in the Philippines, Clara herself developed dengue and had to return home to Newark. In October of 1900 Clara made a return to Cuba again to work under Major William Gorgas, himself under General Walter Reed to investigate yellow fever. Some believed at the time that Yellow Fever was caused by general filth, others by bites from infected mosquitoes.

All animals at the time seemed immune to yellow fever, so the army doctors performed research on human subjects. Volunteers received $100 for allowing themselves to be bitten and another $100 if they became sick. In March 1901 Clara volunteered to be bitten but only developed a mild case of the disease. In an effort to determine if prior infection conferred immunity, Maass again agreed to be bitten on August 14th, 1901. Sadly, she developed a serious strain of the disease and died ten days later at age 25. Her death resulted in controversy and the human experiments ended. She did not die in vain though, as her sacrifice proved that it was mosquitoes who were carriers.

In 1952 Newark German Hospital was renamed for Clara Maass.

Beer was Newark's fourth largest business in the 19th century. Newark beermasters were active in Newark's civic life and built the city's grandest mansions. The Ballantines are in Mt. Pleasant, but Fairmount Cemetery has the rest of Newark's millionaire brewers: the Henslers, the Feigenspans, and the greatest of them all, Gottfried Krueger.

The Hensler brewery, one of Newark's Big Five, was located at 73 Hamburg Place (now Wilson Avenue) in the Ironbound. The family beer dynasty was founed by Joseph Hensler, who had worked for Lorenz & Jacquillard in 1850 before starting his own brewery in 1860. The Hensler mansion still stands in the Ironbound, but has been converted beyond recognition.

Christian Feigenspan founded his brewery in 1875, significantly later than the Ballantines, Kruegers, or Henslers. It was the Feigenspans who marketed beer with the "P.O.N." label - "Pride of Newark."

Christian Feigenspan donated the Colleoni statue to Lincoln Park.

Last but by no means least of Fairmount's brewer graves is this grand mausoleum belonging to Gottfried Ephraim Krueger, Newark brewmaster, Democratic Party power broker, and entertainment moghul.

Gottfried Krueger was born in Baden in the Black Forest Germany in 1839. He came to Newark at age 16 wearing wooden shoes in 1853. Krueger knew no English, but he had the major advantage of a wealthy uncle who owned a brewery on High Street. Aided by blood ties and his own skills, Krueger rose through the ranks to become brewmaster himself.

Krueger had diverse business interests in Newark. He owned his own brand, but had significant holdings in The Lyons & Sons Brewing Company, the United States Brewing Company, the Home Brewing Company, and the Union Brewing Company - all of Newark (yes, Newark had that many breweries). Krueger also had significant real estate holdings, including Electric Park and the Krueger Auditorium.

Krueger was not only a businessman. The highest court in New Jersey used to be called the "Court of Errors and Appeals." Interestingly, the Court of Errors featured a "lay judge." Krueger performed as lay judge for eleven years. Krueger was also a county freeholder and a Newark city council member.

One of Krueger's other successful business ventures was the Krueger Auditorium. Opened at 25 Belmont Avenue (now Irvine Turner) in what was then the heart of the German district, the Krueger Auditorium. The Saenger Hall was a major cultural venue for Newark Germans and later, as the Krueger Auditorium, for all Newarkers.

In May 1914 Gottfried and his wife Bertha set sail for Wildungen, Germany for a spring and summer trip to the land of their births. Alas, history intervened that summer and Gottfried and Bertha were trapped in Germany.

After the United States entered the Great War Alien Property Custodian A. Mitchell Palmer moved to seize Krueger's estate under the provisions of the Trading with the Enemy Act.

Krueger eventually returned to the United States and got his property back, but by then his property was worth considerably less, thanks to Prohibition.

Beginning in June 1935 Krueger beer became the first beer in the world sold in aluminum cans.

In 1888 Krueger spent $250,000 on the most lavish mansion ever built in Newark. Located on High Street, the mansion's Victorian baronial splendor is greatly diminished behind a chain link fence and weeds.

As he built Newark's greatest mansion, Krueger also built Newark's greatest mausoleum, seen here. The Krueger mausoleum was refurbished in 1981.

Fairmount Cemetery has two major group monuments, a Civil War Memorial and the Founders' Monument.

Dedicated in 1869, the Civil War memorial is just east of the graves of hundreds of Union dead. The 25' tall column is mounted by a beared Union soldier, standing guard. The age of the monument, plus the style of the soldier, makes me wonder if the company that created it is the same as the company that created the Fireman's Memorial in Mt. Pleasant cemetery.

Civil War dead. This field of graves is on the western side of Fairmount.
The Founders' Monument was erected in 1889 to commemorate Newark's first settlers, many of whom were interred at the Old Burying Ground on Broad St. and Branford Place.
The sides of the Founders' Monument depict scenes from the founding of Newark. One side is the contract signed between the Indians and the Puritans, another is a map of the original division of lots. My favorite side is this depiction of the Puritans' landing.

The four sides of the Founder's Monument describe and depict the arrival of Connecticut Puritans to this new settlement on the Passaic river. One of the four sides gives the names of the original settlers and the names and marks of some of the Lenni-Lenape Indians they dealth with. The monument itself is 22' tall and 8' square. The monument was recently repaired after the Puritan statue on top collapsed into the base.

One side of the monument reads "These lands were sold in consideration of fifty double hands of powder, one hundred bars of lead, twenty coats, ten guns, ten pistolls, ten kettles, ten swords, four blankets, four barrels of bear, ten pairs of knives, twenty howes, eight-hundred and fifty bathoms of wampum, . . . " [sic]

In other words, the Indians sold the Puritans all the land from the crest of the Watchung Mountains to the Newark Basin for trinkets.

Phineas V. Clark was a lumber merchant in Newark. This statue was cast in Plainfield, New Jersey. I have been unable to find much information about him, other than the fact that he tried to disinherit a son because the son married a Catholic.
I have been to several Victorian-era cemeteries in Newark, New York City, and Chicago. This is the largest orb I have ever seen atop a monument.

H.T. Clawson was an inventor and a small-scale industrialist. His greatest invention was a machine that filled boxes with precisely measured quantities of rice, cement, grain, etc. He also invented a coin operated fortune telling machine.

Originally this monument had a small statue of a child on top.

This is the monument of Gerhard Heinrich Mennen, founder of the eponymous toiletry company. His son, who built the brand, is buried nearby.

Gerhard Heinrich Mennen started a pharmacy in Newark in 1879. The company grew and grew over the next three decades, but did not become a national brand until 1912, when Mennen's son William Gerhard took over the business.

A close up of one of the guardians of the Mennen tomb.

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