C Cleveland

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Every day on my way to work, I pass by Lake View Cemetery.

One summer day, I happened to glance over and saw a small sign beneath the Lake View sign.

"Cemetery tours every weekend"

I've lived in Cleveland all my life and I knew that there was a lot of history at the old cemetery but I realized that it didn't know a whole lot more than the fact that it was at the top of the hill leading into the neighborhood known as Little Italy.

I convinced my sister and a friend to join me for one of the upcoming tours and we learned some fascinating facts.

Lake View Cemetery was founded in 1869 and sits on 285 acres. It has 70 acres for future development and won't reach full capacity for another 100 years. The cemetery, designed by Adolph Strauch, was created to resemble Victorian English and French gardens. Long, winding roads and pathways lead around carefully arranged gravesites that blend harmoniously with their surroundings.

Famous Clevelanders buried there include:

James A. Garfield, (1831-1881) the 20th President of the United States

John D. Rockefeller, (1839-1937) organized the Standard Oil Company and became the richest man in the world during his lifetime

Eliot Ness, (1903-1957) law enforcement agent who helped bring down infamous gangster, Al Capone

Raymond Johnson Chapman, (1891-1920) Cleveland Indians player who was hit in the head by a pitch and died 12 hours later.


Archangel Gabriel stands ominously over the grave of John Hay (1839-1905), former secretary to President Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Secretary of State under President McKinley.

This massive bronze angel sits at the grave of Francis Haserot. The object in the angel's hands is an overturned torch, not a sword.

Memorial for George Hely

Crypts and mausoleums

This art deco-style mausoleum is the final resting place of Liberty Elmer Holden (1833-1913), original owner of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Holden is also credited with the construction of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Burke mausoleum

Schofield mausoleum. Schofield was a prominent architect who designed the Mansfield Reformatory. Yes, the famous haunted one.

Mausoleum row

Wade Chapel was built in 1901 to honor Jeptha Wade. The Chapel's interior, including the doors, floor tiles, benches, wall mosaics, chandeliers, lamps and ceiling, was designed entirely by Louis Tiffany. Of course, it also contains a Tiffany stained-glass window.

Both interior walls contain murals comprised of stained glass tiles.

The marble bench is inlaid with gold stained-glass tiles. The chandelier and candle-like lamps were also designed by Tiffany.

I think the most interesting fact I learned that day was that there was a dam inside the cemetery. Built in 1978 by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District at a cost of $7 million, the dam is 500 feet across, 60 feet above grade and 30 feet below grade. At the time of dedication, it was the largest concrete filled dam east of the Rocky Mountains capable of holding back 80 million gallons of water.


  1. Very interesting tour...something you pass by every day, just waiting to be discovered...

  2. Thank you for taking me with you on this tour.

  3. Hey Chrissy! Wow, the dam was a surprise! And that first photo of Garfield's place was incredible - nice one! Indigo

  4. I love what you showed us. The statue with the upside down torch caused me to look it up. It is called the The Angel of Death Victorious. The buildings are marvelous, love the rotunda, how do they build it? and a cemetery with a dam? amazing!

  5. The photos are beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I love going to old cemetery's. Its sad but ironic that some of the best architecture is there.

  6. WOW! What time and energy it took you to write all this and those photos are spectacular!

    Thank you for this. I feel I know just a little more about your town and you, whom I adore. :)

  7. Great tour, Chrissy! Some of those dead guys have some pretty fabulous digs!

  8. I would love touring that place. Cemetary visiting is something I always find fascinating.

  9. I could wander around there forever.
    And who knows, someday I just might.

    Cool photos!

  10. Gorgeous photos and a fascinating tour, Chrissy!

    The mausoleum's were my favorites! Cleveland looks so beautiful.

    I have such a LOVE for cemetaries. We have quite a few here in Philadelphia and sometimes I'll take a walk through them and read the various head stones.

    Thanks for sharing!


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