Historic Pratt Mausoleum Restored and Rededicated
By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter
The historic Pratt Mausoleum in Dexter’s Forest Lawn Cemetery has received some much needed tender loving care.
Constructed in the early 1900s by John Pratt, the crypt had fallen into disrepair through years of erosion and vandalism. The mausoleum, however, holds special historical significance since the Pratt family was among the early settlers of Dexter and remained vitally engaged in the community for generations. Some months ago, John Pratt’s great-granddaughter, Lois Pratt-Mekas, set out on a mission to restore the family’s treasured landmark.
On July 1, 2021, the restoration of the Pratt Mausoleum was celebrated with family and friends in a quiet ceremony at the site.
“Well, it’s done,” wrote Lois in an email to the Pratt family. “It has taken a lot of leg work, phone calls, personal meetings and such to accomplish all of this. To me it has been very stimulating and exciting. And now it is gloriously finished.”
“I believe this was a once-in-a-lifetime situation,” added Lois. “We paid our respects to our past and look forward to the future.”
The ceremony was held under a sunny sky with mild temperatures for the summer day. Members of the Dexter Area Historical Society attended the event noting the mausoleum’s significance in Dexter’s history. But it’s not just family and local historians that appreciate the restoration. During the restoration of its masonry and gate, the contractors observed the keen interest and appreciation passersby had in their work.
The repairs included grinding out and replacing all the mortar, wire wheeling the smeared mortar from a previous attempt to repair the mortar, cleaning the colorful stone, replacing a large stone piece across the back, and repairing and sealing the cement roof. The inside was cleaned, loose cement pieces were secured, and the marble plates for each crypt were mounted.
“We were honored to have Father Nicholas Kotsis from the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church from Ann Arbor to say prayers and bless the building,” says Lois.
Both Lois and her husband, Evans, spoke at the ceremony. Evans shared the importance of passing along the stories of our families, how our ancestors related to the society of their time. Keeping them in the context of their times creates a profile to which we can compare ourselves in our time.
Lois is taking that idea to heart and writing a book on her family’s history, Vignettes of Little Miss Pratt. She hopes to have it published next year.
Photos courtesy of Lois Pratt-Mekas