MADISON, GA'S HISTORIC CEMETERIES
Colonel Michael MacDonald Muldoon: Master Monument Maker for Madison and the Nation
Michael Muldoon, acclaimed as one of the “finest memorialists that the world has ever seen” by one of the current owners of the monument company that continues to bear Muldoon’s name, also left his mark on Madison with the creation of the Kolb Family monument in Old Cemetery.
Muldoon was born in 1836 in Kingscourt, Cavan, Ireland and came to the United States in 1849. He learned the marble-cutting trade working as a journeyman marble-cutter in New York, Baltimore, and West Virginia before settling in Louisville, Kentucky.
In 1854 he, along with George Doyle and Charles Bullett, started the Muldoon Monument Company. The business expanded in 1863 to include a studio and workshop in Carrara, Italy, under the direction of Bullett. It is believed that most of the actual carving was done there. The company also operated offices in Chicago and Memphis, which was unusual for that time. Muldoon maintained quarries in Italy; Barre, Vermont; and Tate, Georgia.
The company was known not only for personal memorials, but also for public and civic monuments. According to a Kentucky Education Television program, Muldoon Monument Company made 90 percent of the Confederate monuments erected in Southern cities after the Civil War. But Muldoon is well regarded for the quality and beauty of his work as well as the quantity. He believed monuments should be more than nameplates; they should be “lasting expressions of a family’s love.”
His work can be found throughout the United States. One of his most famous is the Mackay Mausoleum in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. This masterpiece, built in 1898 at a cost of $250,000, included a heating system and electric lights. It was the largest, private monument in the United States at that time.
After Muldoon’s death in 1911, the business continued under his name and is still thriving today as Muldoon Memorials, Kentucky’s oldest memorial provider.
“Southern Graves,” blog by Stephanie Lincecum, June 12, 2012, http://blog.southerngraves.net
“Adventures in Cemetery Hopping,” blog by Traci Rylands, January 20, 2017, adventuresincemeteryhopping.wordpress.com
“The Reporter,” Vol. XLIV, No. 5, published by Nichols & Co., Chicago, Illinois, May 1911
“Granite, Marble and Bronze,” Vol. XXIII, No. 4, published by A.M. Hunt Co., Boston, Massachusetts, April 1913
Nomination form for Michael Muldoon’s home, National Register of Historic Places, March 25, 1977
Louisville’s Historic Black Neighborhoods – Images of America Series, Beatrice S. Brown, Ph.D., author, published by Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina, 2012
“Find A Grave,” website, www.findagrave.com
Muldoon Memorials website, muldoonmemorials.com
Telephone conversations with Cullen McBroom and John Keith, Muldoon Memorials, January 5, 2018
Kentucky Educational Television, “Louisville Life” program, March 29, 2014