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Mount Hope Cemetery Mausoleum

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1911. 11th St. E. and 14th Ave. N.
  • (Photograph by Michelle Dennis)
  • (Photograph by Michelle Dennis)

Watertown’s Mount Hope Cemetery Mausoleum is one of only a handful of historic mausoleums built in South Dakota (another is also located in Watertown at St. Mary’s Cemetery). The cemetery was established in 1881, a couple years after the city itself had been founded, on forty acres of land northeast of the city center, which Watertown had purchased from the Winona and St. Peter Railroad Company. Its design was influenced by the picturesque landscapes of the mid-nineteenth-century rural cemetery movement.

The Mount Hope Mausoleum, built a couple decades later in 1911, forms the cemetery’s focal point. The Mission Style single-story building is constructed of heavy blocks of pink-colored stone, with decorative buttressing along the length of the structure. The front (north) elevation contains a large, round-arched entrance with rounded parapet walls above; square columns flank the entrance and rise to the height of the parapet walls. A monitor roof runs the central length of the building, illuminating the interior by means of the seven small windows on each elevation. The main entry includes a vestibule with a wrought-iron gate and heavy bronze and glass doors topped by a leaded green glass transom. A second doorway, with a similar door and transom, is located at the opposite end. Two small receiving rooms at either end welcome visitors to the long, open central corridor decorated with marble floor and trim; 100 crypts line each side.

The crypt is full and no longer accepts burials. One of the receiving rooms was converted into a columbarium in 2011, where urns are on display for public view.


Erpstad, David, and David Wood. Building South Dakota. Pierre, SD: South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 1997.

Hoff, Laurette, “Mount Hope Cemetery Mausoleum,” Codington County, South Dakota. National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1986. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Writing Credits

Michelle L. Dennis



  • 1911


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Michelle L. Dennis, "Mount Hope Cemetery Mausoleum", [Watertown, South Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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