John W. Bowser's Empire State Building Grave – Aurora, Ontario - Atlas Obscura

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John W. Bowser's Empire State Building Grave

Aurora Cemetery

This uniquely shaped tombstone is dedicated to the project construction superintendent for the Empire State Building. 


John W. Bowser was born in present-day Aurora, Ontario in 1892 and in the coming years worked on many construction jobs in and around Toronto, most notably the Royal Ontario Museum and the Bank of Toronto building. Although those were minor roles, it was overall a good start to his career.

Sometime around 1930, he headed to New York to start work as the project construction superintendent for the famous Empire State Building, an important title. After completing the project ahead of time, he headed back to Canada and worked in construction with his own company in Aurora, work that included building a Canadian army camp in the neighboring town of Newmarket. Bowser passed in 1956. 

His grave is marked with this massive 10-foot tall replica of the building he worked on, put in place a short time after he died. It is interesting to note that the stone replica does not include the 204 foot TV antenna installed in 1950, two years before the grave’s creation.

Know Before You Go

The grave is in the Aurora Cemetery and may take some walking around to find it hidden behind a hill.

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July 15, 2021

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