I feel kinda dumb for having thought this, but closer inspection today revealed that the Johnston Mausoleum at Calvary Cemetery is, in fact, not slated for demolition. I mean, why would they put scaffolding around it and, more to the point, why would they clean it off first? This goes to show how little I know about building demolitions.
But I don’t want to beat myself up too much for entertaining such a scenario. I was at Calvary on other business yesterday and simply did not have time or proximity to make sense of what was happening at the mausoleum.
The poor quality pictures I got further added to the mystery, making it look to me like the windows and the artwork over the doors were gone. In fact, they were simply clean of the dirt that I’d come to assume was the building’s chocolate brown style.
Seeing this scaffold-surrounded mausoleum, which has been an interest-bordering-on-obsession for me for so long, was like seeing a best friend in a bodycast.
Here is a before and after sequence, revealing how obvious it should have been before the cleaning that this building was caked in filth. The way it looks now is how it was meant to look all along.
I’ve been contacted a few times by a descendant of the Johnstons, in Ireland. He said the family knew there were burials of their ancestors at Calvary but, until he found my website, neither he nor anybody knew those ancestors were in such a stupendous mausoleum. I quote that email herewith, with the good faith assumption that it’s OK to do so, for the edification of any other Calvary visitors interested in knowing more about the Johnstons:
Only for your article back in 2009 (sic) on the Johnston Mausoleum we would never have found out about it. It helped get us started on a quest to find more about the Johnston name in Scotland.
So now I will tell you that we came down from James Johnston Wamphray, Scotland. His wife was Margaret Mc Lennan. They were a cadet family. A Brother of Chief Johnston, who married Elizabeth Jardine who were the “Johnstouns” of Annadale, Dunfriesshire, Scotland.
The tower/mini castle in the Calvary is of the same design as Lockwood tower in Beatock, St Anne’s, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The seat of the Johnston clan.
John Johnston Chief of Wamphray Johnstons, was the man who started the dry goods firm along with his brother with the same name as me “Charles”.
The Lockwood tower is long destroyed, though Bing image searches for it turned up some interesting stuff:
I’m not going down this rabbithole any further than today’s follow-up trip to Calvary to get a closer look at what is happening there.