A mini-museum on the west end of the Carroll City Cemetery is set to open around Memorial Day. One of the latest additions is an outdoor bench donated by City Council member Clay Haley.
A mini-museum on the west end of the Carroll City Cemetery is set to open around Memorial Day. One of the latest additions is an outdoor bench donated by City Council member Clay Haley.

May 17, 2018

A repurposed building on the west side of the Carroll City Cemetery will soon be open to visitors as a mini-museum.

The cemetery shelter house and chapel that has stood there since the 1930s will soon open to display historical articles, photos and maps about the cemetery and building as well as relevant artifacts such as pieces of broken tombstones.

The building, built in 1935, is one of the structures in Carroll built through the Works Project Administration, part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s that created work for people affected by the Great Depression.

“The building is a wonderful little treasure that we can bring back to life,” said Barbara Hackfort, chair of Carroll’s Historical Preservation Commission, at the start of the renovations last fall.

Decades ago, the building was used as a chapel and shelter from the weather for people attending funerals. Its stonework is similar to that found at Graham Park and Swan Lake, as well as in other spots throughout the city.

In 1935, a Carroll-area foreman, Frank Walz, led construction of the chapel, and Carroll provided materials for the building that were worth about $450 at the time, according to an article from the Carroll Daily Herald at the time.

The “city cemetery museum” is still on track for its proposed Memorial Day opening, Hackfort told the City Council this week.

Since last fall, new windows have been installed in the building, various cleaning tasks, repairs and landscaping have been completed, and carriage doors were installed to replace the building’s garage door.

Inside, historical displays were created to include articles, photos, maps, brochures about cemetery monuments and project donors’ names.

The building also includes courthouse benches from the Carroll County Museum, old St. Anthony chapel communion railings, stained-glass windows from the old St. Anthony chapel and a brass plate and information from the former County Home and other WPA projects.

One of the latest updates to the building is an outdoor bench, donated by council member Clay Haley.

“I’m glad we could do it,” Haley said. “A lot of work went into it. It’s just amazing, all the details and nuances, from lights to even the displays for the pictures and such that you have are just beautiful.”

Despite the “chapel” label, the building would be a nonreligious structure simply focused on the area’s history.

We hope it’ll be a place for people to stop and reflect,” said Vicki Gach, the commission’s vice chair.