I was born and raised in Saginaw and lived here all my life, and if you don’t know me, I am 45 years old. To some I am an old geezer, and to others I am still a kid, but I digress. I tell you my age because for years I would drive around Saginaw to get to where I am going, but never really noticed much around me. Since starting this page I have been much more aware of my surroundings and driving the back way from Bridgeport to Saginaw I went past Forest Lawn Cemetery and noticed an ornate building out of the corner of my eye. I went into the cemetery for a closer look and I never knew about the chapel. I am sure I have been in the cemetery before, but I guess I never really noticed the magnificent stone chapel near the entrance.
The Chapel and receiving vault, attached to the back of the building, was built in 1900 – 1901 for a cost of $8,900, the city originally set aside $8,500, apparently projects went over budget back then too. The Chapel was designed by the Saginaw firm of Haug & Scheurmann ( they also designed the Saginaw County’s Second Courthouse) the contractor was Anson Hobson. It was built with Bay Port stone, and as reported in the newspapers “ Large blocks of stone Laid with uniformity and precision not to be excelled” it was also noted that the doors were built with patented new brass locks that can only be opened when set “the home for the dead will be carefully guarded”
in 1944 the Chapel was updated with the construction of a furnace room and the addition of modern indirect lighting. The Chapel was also redecorated to create a “more religious experience” The approach to the chapel was also changed and the addition of the current Bay Port stone retaining wall was added.
Sadly with the decline in the City Of Saginaw’s cemetery budget, the chapel is no longer being used or maintained and as we all know Michigan weather is not kind to old abandoned buildings. Getting back to my age of 45 I am starting to know how my grandfather felt when he talked about all the buildings and places in Saginaw that are gone as he got older. The chapel still is a beautiful building, I wish it could be used for something else again, I think it would be a nice wedding chapel, but I think few brides want to get married in a cemetery.
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