Storm damages historic Massillon Cemetery

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MASSILLON, OHIO - Clean up efforts continue at a Stark County cemetery after a strong storm knocked over trees that left portions of a mausoleum in pieces.  "I've seen a lot of trees fall but they've never done that much damage," said Earl Kirby a cemetery employee.

Kirby says he is the sole caretaker for the cemetery with an estimated 25,000 burials.

"It's personally devastating because I worked with one of the women buried here and their family is personal friends," said Margy Vogt a local historian.

Vogt said she has given walking tours at the cemetery since 2001, due to the interest in the historical significance of those buried at the Massillon Cemetery.

The 1903 mausoleum damaged, holds members of the prominent local family, which had the largest dry goods store in the city in the late 1800s and early 1900s according to Vogt.

Cemetery officials say descendants of those impacted by the damage will have to find a solution to make repairs. Several of the fallen trees were cut and cleared from the roadway by Kirby.

"Can't fix that," said Kirby surveying the damage to the mausoleum roof. "They can fix up the front but they ain't gonna put that roof on it anymore."

Founded in 1846, the cemetery according to Vogt is a point of pride. Six congressional medal of honor recipients call the city home and three are buried in the cemetery.

"I think Robert Pinn is one of the most interesting of all," said Vogt. "He was an African American man who really had to fight to get into the Union Army, displayed extreme courage and for his valor."

The mausoleum exterior sustained most of the damage, caretakers say the interior was not damaged.

"The cemetery is all about dignity," said Vogt. "We want this to remain a beautiful memory garden and you know when things like this happen it distracts from the overall beauty and history."

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