Saturday, December 19, 2015
Clarence J. Sanger (1880- 1946) was the spokesman for the group of investors who developed White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery and challenged the traditional view of cemeteries. Rather than a somber graveyard filled with rows of tombstones Sanger, and his colleagues envisioned a beautiful park-like setting that inspired the living and memorialized those who had passed.
Sanger proposed the project to Detroit architect Alvin Harley. When Mr. Harley and his colleagues submitted their preliminary sketches, Mr. Sanger announced, “Gentlemen, I like your ideas. But I want the finished project to cost twice as much. White Chapel must be the ultimate.”1
Construction of White Chapel Cemetery in Section 16 of Troy Township began in 1925. It was built on farmland previously held by the Pearce and Daniels families. By 1929 White Chapel was operational and offered mausoleum space as well as outdoor burial plots. The facilities have been expanded over time and now include three chapels, 26 themed gardens with beautiful sculptures, and a large fountain and pond.
Some of the grandsons and great grandsons of Benjamin Daniels, who purchased the land in 1837, are entombed at White Chapel. It is also the final resting place of auto engineer John DeLorean, architect Albert Kahn, WJR radio personality J.P. McCarthy, Michigan Governor Murray Van Wagoner, euthanasia advocate Jack Kevorkian, Brace Beemer who played the Lone Ranger (see the March 20th 365 Story,) and 56 members of the 1919 American Expeditionary Force to Archangel, Russia known as the Polar Bear Regiment (see the November 11th 365 Story).
Clarence J. Sanger
Troy: A City from the Corners, Troy Historical Society, 2005
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at email@example.com.