71
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      Raccoons found inside former Iowa Gov.'s crumbling mausoleum

      Iowa State Capitol Building

      The 115-year-old mausoleum of former Iowa Gov. Samuel Merrill is in danger of collapsing, prompting a state senator to propose funding its restoration.

      Grinnell Sen. Dennis Black says he's appalled by the condition of the mausoleum in Des Moines' Woodland Cemetery.

      An oak tree has toppled onto the mausoleum, the concrete roof is crumbling and raccoons are living inside.

      Black, a Democrat, is seeking $100,000 for a restoration.

      Merrill was born in Maine in 1822 and lived in New Hampshire before moving to Iowa in the 1850s. He served in the Civil War and later was president of a bank in the eastern Iowa city of McGregor before beginning two terms as governor in 1868. During his tenure, lawmakers approved construction of the current Capitol.

      He died Aug. 31, 1899.