Lake View Cemetery

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Lake View Cemetery
Daffodil Hill 02 - Lake View Cemetery (31618850224).jpg
Daffodil Hill and a nearby funerary monument at Lake View Cemetery
Lake View Cemetery is located in Ohio
Lake View Cemetery
Location of Lake View Cemetery
Lake View Cemetery is located in Cleveland
Lake View Cemetery
Lake View Cemetery (Cleveland)
EstablishedJuly 28, 1869
CountryUnited States
Coordinates41°30′49″N 81°35′55″W / 41.5135°N 81.5986°W / 41.5135; -81.5986Coordinates: 41°30′49″N 81°35′55″W / 41.5135°N 81.5986°W / 41.5135; -81.5986
Owned byLake view Cemetery Association
Size285 acres (115 ha)
No. of graves104,000 (2007)
Find a GraveLake View Cemetery
The Political GraveyardLake View Cemetery
The obelisk at the Rockefeller family plot
The James A. Garfield Memorial

Lake View Cemetery is a privately owned, nonprofit garden cemetery located in the cities of Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and East Cleveland in the U.S. state of Ohio. Founded in 1869, the cemetery was favored by wealthy families during the Gilded Age, and today the cemetery is known for its numerous lavish funerary monuments and mausoleums. The James A. Garfield Memorial, erected in 1890 as the tomb of assassinated President James A. Garfield, is located within the cemetery.

Founding of the cemetery[edit]

Creation of the Lake View Cemetery Association[edit]

In 1868, prominent Cleveland businessmen Jeptha Wade, Henry B. Payne, and Joseph Perkins began discussing the need for a new cemetery for the city of Cleveland. They believed that the city's then-preeminent burial ground, Woodland Cemetery, was too small for the growing city as well as overcrowded, ill-maintained, and not scenic enough. They issued an invitation on May 8, 1869, to about 40 of the city's other leading businessmen, and 30 of them showed up to the meeting on May 24.[1]

The group of 30 formed the Lake View Cemetery Association on July 28, 1869.[1][2] The trustees were[2] William Bingham (owner of the W. Bingham Co. hardware company), Hinman B. Hurlbut (banking executive), Henry B. Payne (railroad investor), Joseph Perkins (banking and railroad executive), U.S. District Court Judge Charles Taylor Sherman, Amasa Stone (steelmaker and railroad investor), Worthy S. Streator (railroad executive and investor), Jeptha Wade (co-founder of Western Union), and Stillman Witt (railroad investor). Wade was named president, and Liberty E. Holden (owner of The Plain Dealer newspaper) the association clerk.[2] The group resolved to build a garden cemetery in the style of Mount Auburn Cemetery near Boston, Massachusetts, or Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio,[3] and Judge Sherman chose the name: Lake View Cemetery.[1] Lake View was "non-sectarian" and open to all, which (in the 19th century) meant that its intended clientele were Protestant.[4]

The group sold stock in the association, hoping to raise $150,000 ($2,800,000 in 2018 dollars). Within six weeks, they'd raised the money and set the goal higher at $200,000 ($3,800,000 in 2018 dollars). Selah Chamberlain (ironmaker, railroad investor, banker), Payne, Perkins, Stone, Wade, and Witt held $60,000 ($1,100,000 in 2018 dollars) in stock, while another 11 individuals held $55,000 ($1,000,000 in 2018 dollars) in stock.[5]

Site selection, design, and construction[edit]

A committee was formed to choose a site for the new cemetery. Its members consisted of Holden, Payne, Perkins, Sherman, and J.C. Buell[1] (a local banking executive). The committee wanted a location on the lake shore, but found nothing suitable. While traveling on Euclid Avenue, Holden came upon the cemetery site by chance.[1] The area was known as "Smith Run".[3] Beginning on the Erie Plain in the northwest, the site rose into the foothills of the Portage Escarpment.[6] Dugway Brook, which bisected the site,[7] and several small streams ran south-to-north through the area, carving out several ravines[3][8] The Dugway Brook ravine was particularly deep, and Euclid bluestone (a bluish-colored sandstone) had once been quarried there.[7]

By late September 1869, the Lake View Association had purchased 175 acres (71 ha) of land on a ridge adjacent to Euclid Avenue.[5] (Within a year, the cemetery encompassed 211 acres (85 ha).)[1] This gave the cemetery about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) of frontage on the avenue.[5] Located in what was then East Cleveland Township,[3] the site was somewhat isolated. With the city pushing eastward at a swift pace, city and county government officials were already planning additional roads in the area, several of which would reach the new cemetery.[5][a]

Renowned landscape architect Adolph Strauch, who designed Cincinnati's celebrated Spring Grove Cemetery, was hired in October 1869 to design Lake View.[1][10] Joseph Earnshaw of Cincinnati was the civil engineer, and O.D. Ford hired as the first superintendent.[1] During the winter of 1869-1870, work crews began grading and laying down roads and paths, terracing part of the site for in-ground plots and mausoleums, and removing underbrush and unwanted trees. By February 1870, two sections were being laid out with about 500 plots.[11]

The 300 plots in the first section went on sale in late June 1870.[12] The cost of a standard size in-ground grave was set at $4.00 ($79 in 2018 dollars). Larger sites for families, monuments, or mausoleums went for 20 cents ($4 in 2018 dollars) a square foot.[12] The cemetery's distance from Cleveland's population center and the price of its plots meant that only those with a middle class income or better could afford to be buried at Lake View.[4]

Operational history of the cemetery[edit]

Early years[edit]

It's not clear when the first interments were made, but several plots were in use by October 21, 1870.[13]

Improvements to and expansion of the cemetery continued over the next few years. The first ravine was bridged in November 1870,[14] and in December the association purchased an unspecified number of acres that doubled the length of its frontage on Euclid Avenue.[15] By August 1871, six sections of the cemetery were laid out and the receiving vault for use by plot-holders, designed by local architect Joseph Ireland, was almost finished.[16] A superintendent's lodge at front gate on Euclid Avenue was finished at the end of the year. By this time, several large, artistic funerary monuments had been erected at Lake View.[17] The association purchased another 41 acres (17 ha) of land in October 1872[18] and 2.17 acres (0.88 ha) in January 1873.[19] By June 1873, the cemetery had a total of 266 acres (108 ha). It had spent $65,643 ($1,372,850 in 2018 dollars) on landscaping, with eight sections landscaped, plotted, and open for burials.[20] The cemetery even dammed Dugway Brook in places to create ponds.[21]

Plots at Lake View Cemetery in its first three years sold for half the average price of plots in established cemeteries.[12][20] Plot sales generated little income initially. At the close of the 1872-1873 fiscal year, the cemetery was technically bankrupt, with more debt (about $198,000 [$4,140,950 in 2018 dollars]) than assets. Plot sales were brisk, however, and the cemetery was proving extremely popular with local residents. As much as 40 percent of all burials at Lake View Cemetery between 1870 and 1873 were removals from Woodland Cemetery.[20] Another 21.8 acres (8.8 ha) of land were purchased in August 1873.[22]

When Euclid Avenue was paved up to Lake View Cemetery,[23] this permitted the Lake View, Collamer & Euclid Railway (a streetcar line)[24] to reach the main gate in July 1874.[23]

By 1877, The Plain Dealer estimated, more than $100,000 ($2,352,813 in 2018 dollars) in funerary monuments dotted the landscape at Lake View Cemetery. These included the highly visible obelisks and shafts over the Doan, Kelley, McDermott, Potter, Tisdale plots; the Goodrich and Jaynes memorials; the Keynes column (topped with a funerary urn); the Jeptha Wade shaft, which was topped by an angel; and the Hurlbut pillar topped with a weeping figure. There were also a number of monuments with well-designed, expertly carved bas-relief or freestanding sculptures. These included the angel atop the Truman P. Handy memorial, the weeping woman atop the Bucher and Hanna monuments, the group of angels supporting a cross atop the Cross grave, figures carved on the upright slabs over the Johnson and Garretson plots, a sculptural group named "Hope" atop the Perkins monument, and another sculptural group atop the Chamberlain monument. Although a number of large mausoleums had been built in the cemetery, the newspaper noted that the most elaborate of these was the tomb being erected by H.J. Wilcox. Wilcox had visited Italy, where he employed artisans to design a vault that mimicked the look of an Italian Renaissance chapel.[25]

Financial difficulties: 1881 to 1941[edit]

President James A. Garfield, a resident of nearby Mentor, Ohio, was shot in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1881. He died on September 19, 1881. Garfield himself had expressed the wish to be buried at Lake View Cemetery. Garfield was temporarily interred in the cemetery's public vault on September 26, 1881. Even before his funeral, plans were laid by his friends and admirers for a grand tomb to be erected at the highest point in the cemetery.

The Garfield Memorial was dedicated on May 30, 1890. That same year, a streetcar line reached the Mayfield Gate of the cemetery. The popularity of the memorial and the garden-like cemetery were such that by this time large crowds were thronging Lake View every Sunday. Cemetery officials began requiring tickets to enter the grounds in order to control the crowds and maintain a suitable atmosphere for mourning.[4]

Lake View Cemetery's finances were in poor shape, however. The cemetery could afford very little maintenance work, and by 1892 the grounds had been seriously neglected. Areas ready for sale were unmown, weeds and other plants grew wild, and erosion and drought and left some areas bare of vegetation. Only a small percentage of the cemetery's roads were paved, and the remaining dirt roads were heavily eroded and rutted. Lake View's finances were so poor that many residents believed it was close to bankruptcy. The association needed revenue so badly that the association trustees even considered lowering the price of lots so that the poor could afford to be buried there (although that meant no funerary monuments and even large numbers of unmarked graves).[4]

About the cemetery[edit]

The cemetery located in the "heights" area of Greater Cleveland, with a view of Lake Erie to the north. The burying ground had 285 acres (1.15 km2) of land in 2007, with more than 104,000 burials.[26] The cemetery is famous of its numerous statues of angels, sculpted in a Victorian style.[27] Thre are two entrances, on Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road.[4]

The James A. Garfield Memorial is the most prominent point of interest at Lake View Cemetery. The ornate interior features a large marble statue, stained glass, bas relief, and various historical relics from Garfield's life and presidency. The monument also serves as a scenic observation deck and picnic area. President and Mrs. Garfield are entombed in the lower level crypt, their coffins placed side by side and visible to memorial visitors.

Lake View Cemetery is home to the Wade Memorial Chapel, which features an interior designed by Louis Tiffany.[28] Behind the chapel is a large pond.

A smaller and very well-known memorial, the Angel of Death Victorious at the gravesite of the Haserot family, was created by sculptor Herman Matzen.[29]

In popular culture[edit]

The cemetery is among those profiled in the 2005 PBS documentary A Cemetery Special.

Scenes of the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier were filmed at the cemetery.[30]

Notable interments[edit]


  1. ^ Lake View Cemetery initially straddled the border between Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland. In November 1872, the city of Cleveland annexed about 8 square miles (21 km2) of land, much of it on the city's eastern border. This brought a portion of Lake View Cemetery within Cleveland's borders.[9]
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Lake View Cemetery". The Plain Dealer. August 3, 1870. p. 3.
  2. ^ a b c "Lake View Cemetery". The Plain Dealer. July 29, 1869. p. 3.
  3. ^ a b c d Morton 2004, p. 7.
  4. ^ a b c d e Morton 2004, p. 8.
  5. ^ a b c d "Lake View Cemetery. The Stock Books Still Open". The Plain Dealers. September 25, 1869. p. 3.
  6. ^ Hannibal 2007, p. 83, 84-85.
  7. ^ a b Hannibal 2007, p. 84.
  8. ^ Orth 1910, p. 21.
  9. ^ "The City Council". The Plain Dealer. November 20, 1872. p. 3.
  10. ^ "Lake View Cemetery". The Plain Dealer. October 21, 1869. p. 3.
  11. ^ "Lake View Cemetery". The Plain Dealer. February 2, 1870. p. 3.
  12. ^ a b c "Lake View Cemetery". The Plain Dealer. June 23, 1870. p. 3.
  13. ^ "Lake View Cemetery". The Plain Dealer. October 21, 1870. p. 3.
  14. ^ "East Cleveland Items". The Plain Dealer. November 12, 1870. p. 3.
  15. ^ "Lake View Cemetery". The Plain Dealer. December 3, 1870. p. 3.
  16. ^ "Lake View Cemetery". The Plain Dealer. August 22, 1871. p. 3.
  17. ^ "Lake View Cemetery". The Plain Dealer. December 18, 1871. p. 3.
  18. ^ "Real Estate Transfers". The Plain Dealer. October 24, 1872. p. 4.
  19. ^ "Real Estate Transfers". The Plain Dealer. January 27, 1873. p. 3.
  20. ^ a b c "Real Estate Transfers". The Plain Dealer. June 4, 1873. p. 2.
  21. ^ "Cleveland's Charms". The Plain Dealer. July 31, 1877. p. 4.
  22. ^ "Real Estate Transfers". The Plain Dealer. August 25, 1873. p. 3.
  23. ^ a b "To the City Limit on Euclid Avenue". The Plain Dealer. July 17, 1874. p. 3.
  24. ^ "The Newest Railway". The Plain Dealer. June 23, 1876. p. 4.
  25. ^ "A Lovely Resting Place". The Plain Dealer. May 18, 1877. p. 4.
  26. ^ Vigil 2007, p. 98.
  27. ^ Morton 2004, frontispiece.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h "Lake View Cemetery". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  29. ^ "Lake View Cemetery". Retrieved 2012-12-03.
  30. ^ "Captain America: The Winter Soldier film locations (2014)". Retrieved 2014-07-14.
  31. ^ "Bolton, Frances Payne". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  32. ^ Vigil 2007, p. 101.
  33. ^ Brill, Jason (December 1, 2016). "Hidden Cleveland: Chisholm Mausoleum". Cleveland Magazine. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  34. ^ Funeral of John A. Ellsler. The New York Times, August 26, 1903 p. 3
  35. ^ Vigil 2007, p. 103.
  36. ^ Vigil 2007, p. 106.


External links[edit]