30 October 2009
Lighthouse Columbarium Project
Located on the south side of Michigan Memorial Park Cemetery, along the beautiful southern bank of the Huron River, lies a project that has brought as much pride as it has intrigue to local residents. Standing 35 feet tall and made of two types of granite is the Lighthouse Columbarium Project designed by Brad Barthelemy of Cold Spring Granite.
Beginning in 2004 the idea was conceived to beautify a piece of land on the Huron River. Ideas were accepted from local artists on how to best execute this plan but in the words of the President of Michigan Memorial Park Cemetery, Kelly Dwyer, they "just didn't click." Later a phone call was placed by a sculptor raising the idea, "What about turning it into a lighthouse?" Four years later that idea was put into place creating a first-of-its-kind project.
Being the fourth generation owner/operator of Michigan Memorial Park Cemetery, Dwyer was sure to incorporate the history of the grounds into this new-age idea by building upon an existing cinder block building erected by her great grandfather in 1926, which housed pumps for transferring water to a nearby lake. Being a fully functional lighthouse, this columbarium also has a hand-crafted electric beacon with a flashing light which remains on each day until cemetery close. Positioned in the rear of the lighhouse is a deck which cantilevers 12 feet over the river, providing for a breathtaking view as well as quiet reflection for its guests.
Working alongside Cold Spring Granite on this project were G.H. Forbes Associates Architects, led by President Scott Goodsell, a 14 year architectural veteran and McCarthy-Smith Contractors. Overseeing the project was Grounds Superintendent John Fenech.