Photo © Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
This remarkable Victorian cemetery rests inside steep hills and valleys created by glaciers during the ice age. It was built in 1837 to alleviate overcrowding in the smaller local cemeteries, and to provide a more remote location for bodies that were infected with contagious diseases such as smallpox and cholera. The site was chosen for its beauty even though the terrain and drainage were expensive issues. Rare and unusual trees were donated by a local nursery, creating a quiet park that was visited by many, and still is to this day. The cemetery holds a great amount of funerary art decorating its vast numbers of monuments and mausoleums.
A Gothic chapel was built in 1863, with a large ornamental fountain placed in front in 1875. A crematorium was added to the chapel in 1912. This chapel and crematory were replaced with two newer structures on the property, one being the chapel with receiving vault and the other being the new crematory and main office. Both the old and new chapels have fell into disuse over the years, but the cemetery is still maintained and many interments still occur in the newer sections. It is now the final resting place to 1/3rd of a million people.