Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum

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Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum
Schoenhofen Mausoleum
Location Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
Built 1893
Architect Richard E. Schmidt
Architectural style Egyptian Revival
Part of Graceland Cemetery (#00001628)
Added to NRHP January 18, 2001

The Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum is a tomb in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago. It was designed by Chicago School architect Richard E. Schmidt as a family mausoleum for the Chicago brewer Peter Schoenhofen.


Well-known Chicago brewer Peter Schoenhofen (born in Dörbach, then Prussia, in 1827; died in 1893; his Schoenhofen Brewing Company was among the largest in Chicago in 1880.[1] Schoenhofen's family mausoleum was designed by Richard E. Schmidt, a Chicago School architect, in 1893, with construction beginning on July 1 of that year.[2][3] The mausoleum is internationally famous and is one of the most photographed mausoleums at Graceland Cemetery.


The Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum is a steep sided tomb designed, like many of the monuments at Chicago's Graceland Cemetery, in the Egyptian Revival style.[1] The tomb is a family mausoleum constructed from gray granite. The pyramid structure is set upon a square base.[1] To the left of the entryway, is an angel, on the right of the entry stands a sphinx.[1] The pyramid's design combines both Egyptian (the sphinx) and Christian (the angel) symbols.[4] Regardless, the American Institute of Architects' Chicago guide book called the angel "rather out-of-place".[5] The door to the pyramid is styled after the gateways at Karnak, in Egypt, and is 40 inches wide by 84 inches high. A bronze molding of bundled reeds surrounds the door and the door's themselves feature cast lotus designs with coiled asps around the handles.[1]

While the Schoenhofen Mausoleum is a pyramid, and referred to as such, its design is only Egyptian-inspired. The angel on the tomb base is clearly not Egyptian and even the sphinx merely takes its inspiration from Egyptian architecture.[2] There are several historical works that are considered related to the Schoenhofen Mausoleum. The Roman funerary pyramid of Caius Cestius is considered a historical predecessor to the Schoenhofen Mausoleum.[2] Perhaps more closely related are the pyramid by Louis Carrogis Carmontelle at Parc Monceau in Paris and a cenotaph by Antonio Canova that was erected as the tomb of Maria Christina in Vienna at the Augustinian Church.[2]

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  1. ^ a b c d e Kiefer, et al., pp. 30–31.
  2. ^ a b c d Kiefer, et al., pp. 138–40.
  3. ^ "Details for Building at 4011–4011 N. Clark St", Chicago Landmarks, City of Chicago, official site, accessed October 12, 2011.
  4. ^ Hucke, Matt and Bielski, Ursula. Graveyards of Chicago: The People, History, Art and Lore of Cook County Cemeteries, (Google Books link), Lake Claremont Press, p. 20, (ISBN 0964242648).
  5. ^ Sinkevitch, Alice. AIA Guide to Chicago, (Google Books link), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004 p. 226, (ISBN 0156029081).