Edmund Burke Ball, with his brother, Frank, borrowed $200 from their Uncle George Ball to purchase a can company. A few years later the brothers added glass jars to their product mix and founded the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Business, which became the Ball Corporation. Those glass fruit jars made the family a fortune. The Ball family shared the wealth with the community in which they built their business. The Ball family’s legacy of philantrophy in Muncie includes Ball State University, Ball Memorial Hospital, and a city museum to save and protect the history and heritage of the community.
The wealth amassed by the family can also be seen in the Beech Grove Cemetery where the brothers built large mausoleums. The Edmund B. Ball Mausoleum, in what is called “mausoleum row”, is an example of Egyptian Revival architecture found in many large urban cemeteries.
The light gray granite mausoleum has many features of Egyptian temples–the cavetto cornice that curves into a half circle at the top of the tomb, the torus molding around the door that are designed to emulate long bundled plants, the heavy tapered columns, and the mausoleum walls that slant inward. Flanking Edmund Ball’s name are a pair lotus flowers bundled together. In Egyptian Mythology, the lotus was seen to be linked to the sun god Ra, because it’s tender flowers opens at sunrise and follows the path of the sun during the day, closing only after the sun goes down. Three steps lead up to a pair of bronze doors that, again, feature lotus flowers.
The Egyptian Revival tomb gives one the sense of solominity and a sense of eternity, just as the temples of the pharaohs did.