The Egyptian Revival

Major Eugene C. Lewis Mausoleum, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee

After the French and British occupations of Egypt, there was a renewed interest in Egyptian architecture and symbolism.  The Egyptian symbol that is most commonly found in American cemeteries is the obelisk.  And the most famous obelisk in America is the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. But the pyramid is by far the epitome of Egyptian funerary architecture, the tomb of the pharaohs.  The oldest pyramid is the Pryamid of Djoser built over four thousand years ago from 2630 BC to 2612 BC.  The largest of the Egyptian pyramids is the Pyramid of Khufu at Giza built between 2589 and 2566 BC.

Here Major Eugene C. Lewis is buried in a pyramid.  A sphinx on each side of the sidewalk leading up to the pyramid stands guard.  Lewis was a Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway official who championed the construction of the Parthenon replica for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition of 1897 for the 100 anniversary of the statehood.

THIS TABLET

IS PLACED HERE

IN LOVING MEMORY

OF OUR FATHER

MAJOR EUGENE C. LEWIS

BORN JUNE 21, 1845 DIED FEB. 13, 1917

A MAN WHOM POSTERITY WILL KNOW

AND HONOR BY HIS GOOD WORKS

HE GAVE FREELY OF HIS TALENTS THAT

HIS FELLOWMAN MIGHT ENJOY MORE

ABUNDANTLY GOD’S GREAT GIFTS OF NATURE

HE WAS A LABORER IN HIS BUILDING OF A LIFE

WHICH LED TO THE ATTAINMENT OF THE HIGHEST

IDEALS — TRUTH — HONOR AND PURITY

NOW THE LABORER’S TASK IS O’ER

NOW THE BATTLE DAY IS PAST

NOW UPON THE FARTHEST SHORE

LANDS THE VOYAGE AT LAST

FATHER IN THY GRACIOUS KEEPING

LEAVE WE NOW THY SERVANT SLEEPIING

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One Response to The Egyptian Revival

  1. This post brought to mind “pyramid power,” the notion that pyramids possess unusual “powers,” usually related to preservation of some sort, from keeping foods from spoiling to maintaining the sharpness of razor blades. The latest upswing in the popularity of pyramid power in the United States was in the 1970s. A prime example is the pyramid house in Wadsworth, Illinois, near Chicago. This six-story residence was built in 1977 by Jim and Linda Onan. Now a private residence, the home was open to paying visitors from 1978 to 1981. Sometime during that period, I took a tour of the structure and grounds. It is conceptually and architecturally fascinating.

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