The Miller Mausoleum

Johnson County

If you have ever traveled Missouri Highway 131 through Johnson County or been to the Warrensburg, Missouri area, chances are you have encountered the interesting anomaly at the roadside just north of Holden known as the Miller Mausoleum. Sitting just off the state highway, this roadside curiosity has attracted the attention of many a passer-by for years. Interesting in that it is not surrounded by a cemetery or other funerary structures, it sits alone adjacent to the roadway – generally isolated and shut off from the everyday world, though very apparent at the side of the road. Constructed between 1915 and 1918, this steel reinforced concrete structure was conceived by Joseph M. Miller, who moved to Holden from the Macon, Missouri area in 1915. He was a biblical scholar who took inspiration from tombs described in the bible for his whimsically-designed roadside mausoleum. There have been a total of eighteen entombments of Miller family members and descendants at the mausoleum, the last being in 1931. After Miller’s death the mausoleum passed on to the various descendants, all of whom had moved outside the Missouri area. The mausoleum suffered from deferred maintenance and communication between the descendants who had dispersed to various other parts of the country, was difficult. Then about five years ago, one of the descendants, Carl Cranfill of South Dakota started a road trip campaign to gain control of the mausoleum so that he could plan for its long term care and maintenance. Finally gaining full control of the Mausoleum, he began the process of interring the bodies of those entombed at the Mausoleum in the local cemetery in Holden. After securing and stabilizing the Mausoleum, Mr. Cranfill would like to eventually transfer ownership to a local non-profit entity so that it can interpret the structure and the history of the Holden Community. By listing here on Missouri’s Places in Peril, we hope to call greater local attention to this very unique and rare historic site, and help with fundraising for the GoFundMe campaign entitled “Friends of the Miller Mausoleum.”

Listed in 2017

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