Memorial Mound : From Dream to Disgrace

Clyde Booth used to dig graves as a teenager in Kentucky with his uncle. He witnessed firsthand the neglect that occurred at graveyards, from deteriorating caskets to unkempt grounds. This would lead him to find an alternate burial technique in later years. Since 1969, Booth studied ancient burial sites such as mounds and the catacombs of Rome. The fact that the mounds and catacombs still existed today amazed Booth. He wanted to create a burial site that integrated both these concepts.

In 1992, he opened Memorial Mound in Bessemer, Alabama. Built on 16-acres, the foundation rests eight feet below the ground. Instead of being buried in the ground as in conventional cemeteries, caskets were placed on metal racks in a vast, warehouse-like room, and stacked up to eight levels high. Grieving visitors couldn’t enter the room where the caskets were stored, but were allowed to lay flowers on the large earthen mound, place a bronze memorial on a marble wall inside the structure or even call up a biography of the deceased on a computer.

Another room in the building served as a show room for Booth’s casket business, Caskets & Memorial Wholesale Co., which sold caskets to the public at wholesale prices. They advertised the cost of a funeral and burial at Memorial Mound for as low as $2,285.

Most of the bodies buried here were referred to by other funeral homes. Booth claimed it was a conspiracy when they stopped referring his business, which eventually lead to its closure.

Booth died in 2009 at the age of 89 of a heart attack, leaving his estate in the hands of his guardian. It’s hard to determine how long the facility has been neglected for, but pictures of it began surfacing on various websites around November 2014. It wasn’t long before the building was ransacked, including a skull which had become missing from one of the bodies.

In January 2015, became aware of the facility, and reported it to the authorities. The remains of 1 infant and 7 adults were removed by the Bessemer Police Department, and the building secured.

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