Trustees support Green Lawn Abbey efforts


By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

The Franklin Township trustees are getting behind a historical business in the community in an effort to save it.

At a recent meeting, the board approved writing a letter of support for Green Lawn Abbey.

“We are applying for a grant from the state of Ohio to provide financial assistance for historical preservation projects and we needed a letter of support from the municipality Green Lawn Abbey is located in,” said Kate Mathemy, president of Green Lawn Abbey. “This grant is very competitive, so it really helps to have a letter from the Franklin Township trustees.”

The $98,000 grant would be a huge help in the $550,000 preservation project Green Lawn Abbey hopes to take on to preserve its historical building.

“Green Lawn Abbey is a mausoleum that was created in the mid 1800s,” she said. “In the 1980s it didn’t have money to operate anymore and closed.”

However, since 2007 dedicated volunteers have worked to restore the Abbey and once again turn it into a premier place to be laid to rest.

Listed on the national register as an Ohio historical building, volunteers are applying for grants to continue to restore the building.  Some of the work the needs to be done on the building includes replacing the two roofs, restoring the mortar work, restoring the bronze doors, making the first floor ADA accessible and expanding the restrooms and the parking lot.

Today there are 550 crypts in the building and several historical figures from Franklin Township and Columbus have been laid to rest at the Abbey.

“We have musicians, a statesman and even a magician,” Mathemy said. “While all the crypts are reserved, we are looking at operating as a business again and accepting cremated remains.”

The group was set to apply for this same grant last year, but changed their mind during the process because they felt they weren’t prepared. However, according to Mathemy, they now feel like they have a great chance of receiving the funding.

“We have to restore this building, if not it will be a nightmare for the township,” she said. “It would be up to the township to find a new burial place for the people who are laid to rest here if the building were to permanently be closed.”

Besides applying for state funding, the Abbey also has a variety of programs coming up in an effort to generate more revenue for renovations. Some of these programs include classes on classic architecture, preservation and spiritualism.

“We also host our annual event called Tales from the Crypt,” Mathemy said. “During this event we have professional actors dress up as people who are laid to rest here and tell their stories.”

The group also will host an open house from 10 a.m. to noon on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30. During this event, free tours will be given and people can learn a little about the history of the building.

“We think what you are trying to do is wonderful for the township and you have our full support,” said Don Cook, Franklin Township trustee. “This is a great historical building to have in the township and we want to see it succeed.”

Green Lawn Abbey should find out if they received the grant in May. For more information on Green Lawn Abbey or the upcoming programs, visit

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  1. As an FYI… The Abbey was built in 1927 and had it’s grand opening in 1929, not the “mid-1800s” as the article states.


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