Reitz Memorial Monument
Saint Joseph Cemetery
2500 Mesker Park Drive
Evansville, Indiana 47720
Article by Allison Brown
The Reitz Memorial Monument is one of the most extraordinary private family burial monuments in the United States. Located at the highest point in Saint Joseph Cemetery, the Reitz Memorial Plot over looks the entire grounds, as well as part of the West Side of Evansville. Erected in 1919 by Francis Joseph Reitz, this monument was created to commemorate his parents and siblings.
The central column stands as a pillar in front of a screen of. Etched onto the pedestal that this pillar rests upon are the words, August Reitz and Gertrude, his wife. A Matriarchal figure stands firmly on the top of the column, looking over the families’ graves.
Encompassing the central pillar is an arch of eight granite columns. Two figures stand facing each other on pedestals on the ends of this half circle. F.J. Reitz, his parents, and six of his siblings are buried at this location.
Originally from a small Prussian town, John Augustus Reitz moved to Evansville, Indiana in hopes of earning wealth in the rapidly growing lumber industry. He completed his goal, even being nicknamed the “Lumber Barron”. Marrying Gertrude Frisse in 1839, the couple had ten children. Their luxurious Victorian family home can now be toured in Downtown, Evansville.
After John Augusts’ death, Francis Joseph took over the family estate, where it continued to grow. Taking on his father’s ideals he continued to be a philanthropist. The Reitz family helped finance many facilities in the Evansville area, including Reitz Memorial High School, Little Sisters of the Poor, the original Sacred Heart Church, Francis Joseph Reitz High School, along with many other private and public organizations.