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Stiffy Green the Bulldog.

Stiffy Green the Bulldog

Field review by the editors.

Terre Haute, Indiana

Died 1921?

Pet Cemetery.

John G. Heinhl died in 1920, and the story goes that his loyal pet, a bulldog, refused to leave him -- even after Heinhl was placed in the family mausoleum at Highland Lawn Cemetery. The dog snarled at all who approached, and stood sentinel until the day Heinhl's widow found him dead on the mausoleum's steps. The bulldog was stuffed, green glass eyes added, and placed inside the mausoleum, visible through the entrance grate.

Over the decades, the Heinhl mausoleum became a favorite rendezvous for dating teenagers, who would shine flashlights through its barred doors to see the dog's glowing eyes. They called him "Stiffy Green," and the legend grew of the noble dog.

Several more decades passed. Teenagers in the 1980s, no longer interested in legends nor satisfied with flashlights, fired a shotgun into the Heinhl crypt and blew out one of Stiffy's eyes. He was removed from the mausoleum for safekeeping in mid-1980s.

The Terre Haute Lion's Club, sensing a useful public service opportunity, built a full-size replica of the Heinhl mausoleum inside the County Historical Museum, and Stiffy was moved into it in 1989. He has been there ever since, safe to confuse yet another generation of Hoosiers and to grace the museum's most popular sweatshirt.

Terre Hautians who grew up with the legend kept writing to tell us Stiffy Green was a real dog, so we checked with Marylee Hagan, Executive Director of the Vigo County Historical Society: "Stiffy never was a real dog, he was, in fact, a cement fellow who adorned the front porch of the Heinel household and a favorite of Mr. Heinel's. He resides in our lower level in the replica of the family mausoleum. Of course, the legend is a fun story of loyalty and we let visitors make up their own minds about what is true and not true about the story."

Note: The cemetery's other notable residents include the triple victims of 1914's Brazilian Gypsy Murders, and Chief Bearfoot, a performer in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show.

Also see: Mascots | Roadside Pet Cemetery Team Field Report

Stiffy Green the Bulldog

Vigo County Historical Museum

929 Wabash Avenue, Terre Haute, IN
Vigo County Historical Museum. Downtown, in a museum, south side of Wabash Ave between S 9th and S 10th Sts.
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Stiffy Green's Mausoleum

Highland Lawn Cemetery

4420 E. Wabash Ave., Terre Haute, IN
Highland Lawn Cemetery. East edge of the city, on the north side of US Hwy 40/E. Wabash Ave.
Gated after hours. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Birthplace of the Coke Bottle MuralBirthplace of the Coke Bottle Mural, Terre Haute, IN - < 1 mi.
Larry Bird StatueLarry Bird Statue, Terre Haute, IN - < 1 mi.
Santa's Sacrifice MonumentSanta's Sacrifice Monument, Terre Haute, IN - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Giant Chicken, Spencer, IN - 37 mi.

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