A Dover Death Museum

by Dale Pierce Death is not something we all like to think about. For the owner of the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home, across the street from the Masonic Lodge in Dover, Ohio, the deaths of others have spawned a massive collection of funeral cards and other memorabilia, in a free museum. The Famous Endings Museum is somewhat of a new local legend/attraction and the museum itself is located within the actual funeral home.     One of the high points of the museum is a framed photo signed by the cast of Sic Feet Under, a long running HBO series about a dysfunctional family operating a funeral home. The show featured Michael Hall who later went on to superstardom as Dexter Morgan, the amiable psychotic killer who kills only fellow murderers in the Showtime series, Dexter.  One finds funeral cards, newspaper clippings, keepsakes and other items from a number of burials for dead celebrities in all walks of life in this collection.  Several masons are likewise featured.  Most impressible among masonic connections would be a number of items related to the late president, James Garfield; a mason of some sustenance who among other things evidently served as chaplain at one time at the lodge in Garrettsville. Garfield was shot by an assassin at a Washington D.C. railroad station and died some time afterward. His assassin was hanged for the killing.  Material for another Ohioan, mason and President is also to be found concerning William McKinley. Like Garfield, McKinley was shot at close range and died some days later from the effects of the wound.  Unlike Garfield’s assassin, McKinley’s killer went to the electric chair.  Other funeral cards, photos and burial data to people from and not within our fraternity may be found here. The collection has grown so large it has expanded to other funeral homes in the chain, located in New Philadelphia and Strasburg.  Again, people will marvel at the number of celebrity funeral cards found here.  A museum of this nature may not be for everyone’s taste, but for the curious, it is well worth a visit.  Stop in before attending a lodge meeting in Dover.

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