Lake View Cemetery: The Eternal Home of Cleveland’s Most Famous Residents Turns 150 (Map, Sites Guide)


Lynn Ischay, Library of Congress, Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

Lake View Cemetery: The Eternal Home of Cleveland’s Most Famous Residents Turns 150

Cleveland, Ohio – Cleveland’s most famous residents are forever neighbors.

John D. Rockefeller, James A. Garfield, Eliot Ness, Alan Freed, Ray Chapman, Garrett Morgan, Adella Prentiss Hughes, Al Lerner, Carl Stokes…they are all at home at 12316 Euclid Ave., Cleveland. Eternal Neighbors at Lake View Cemetery.

Library of Congress

But as historic Cleveland Cemetery celebrates its 150th anniversary with a year of celebrations and events, President and CEO Katharine Goss is here to spread the word that Lake View welcomes all Clevelandans, from all walks of life. . It’s not just the final resting place of captains of industry and high society.

Courtesy of Lake View Cemetery: Soldiers guarding the remains of President Garfield 1881

“Lake View has always welcomed all walks of life,” says Goss. “We have always been different from most cemeteries because we are not tied to a specific religion or neighborhood. We are open to a very diverse Cleveland clientele. Today, 38% of our graves are from people living in areas contiguous to Lake View. »

Lynn Ischay, The Plain Dealer: Jeptha Wade Memorial

From its inception, Lake View stood out among Cleveland cemeteries. It is not the oldest – it was preceded by neighborhood burial plots and graveyards of graveyards, and in 1826 by the Erie Street Cemetery downtown. But its construction was important. It was to be a large cemetery suitable for the inhabitants of a large, growing American city.

Lake View was founded in 1869, under the leadership of businessman and philanthropist Jeptha Wade. Located two miles east of the city limits on 200 acres purchased for $73,000—later expanded to 285—it was then considered remote.

Stephen Cutri, special for The Plain Dealer

Lake View is inspired by the park-like cemeteries of Victorian England and continental Europe. The legendary Père Lachaise cemetery, opened in 1804 in Paris, the largest and the first garden cemetery in the world, was a source of inspiration.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

The first Lake View lots were purchased in 1870. The first burial was that of Civil War veteran Captain Louis Germain DeForest on August 25 of that year.

Gus Chan, the ordinary merchant

“Until then, most of the townspeople had been buried in church cemeteries,” says Goss. “But these were filling up. The idea of ​​Lake View was that people could come and be with their loved ones, and be in the beauty of the gardens and nature. It was a destination for the living.

“It was easy to find a place to bury people. Not so easy to find a place to bring comfort to the living.

Courtesy of Mary Izant

Soon, the Clevelanders began buying plots in the bucolic landscape.

Mary Izant’s family was one of those who first purchased a plot, in 1889. The first member of her family buried there was her great-great-grandfather, Ralph Randolph Root, in a plot purchased by his great-great-grandmother, Anna Younglove. Root.

Courtesy of Mary Izant

Ralph was from the Root-McBride family, which opened one of the first dry goods stores in the Midwest in 1849. Four generations of his family, more than 20 people, are buried in Lake View.

“We visited all the time growing up,” says Izant. “I still visit often, to see my family and also to walk my dog. It is a very nice calming place. »

Lynn Ischay, The Plain Dealer: The Stone and Mather Family Obelisk

Many of Lake View’s first settlers were leading citizens of Cleveland, who were familiar with the concept of the garden cemetery from their Grand Tours in Europe. These included the Mathers and Hannas and Wades and Andrews.

Lake View quickly became a draw for those who didn’t even have family buried there – as expected. Located so far from the city center, it was a popular weekend destination for locals, drawn by its hills and peaceful setting.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

The opening of the James A. Garfield Memorial on Memorial Day in 1890 was one of the city’s most popular tickets. Designed by architect George Keller, the 180-foot-tall sandstone monument housed the coffin of the president assassinated in 1881, as well as that of his wife, Lucretia.

Funded by private donations in honor of the popular 20th president, the monument cost $135,000. Inside, it features stained glass depicting the original colonies as well as the state of Ohio, mosaics, and a towering 12-foot-tall marble statue of Garfield. An outdoor observation deck offers views of Lake Erie and downtown. The memorial was so popular in the 1890s that admission tickets were sold out.

Collection of Historical Photographs of Ordinary Merchants

The donation register sits in the Lake View office today, with page after page of contributions from $1 to $20 meticulously listed.

“Garfield made the cemetery even more poplar as a burial ground,” says Goss. “People wanted to be buried in the same place as a president.”

Marvin Fong, the ordinary merchant

The next major addition to Lake View came in the 1890s: Wade Chapel. Commissioned by Jeptha Wade II in memory of his father, Lake View founder Jeptha Wade, the charming chapel was designed by renowned architectural firm Hubbell and Bennes (who also designed the Cleveland Museum of Art). Its windows were by none other than Louis Comfort Tiffany.

The chapel, which cost $210,000, was dedicated in 1901 and remains one of Lake View’s most popular destinations to this day.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: 1937

In 1937, the cemetery’s second most famous resident (after President Garfield) arrived: famed industrialist John D. Rockefeller. Although he hasn’t set foot in Cleveland for decades, the world’s richest man, who began his rise to fame and fortune in Cleveland’s Flats, has chosen Lake View for his final resting place.

He was buried on May 27, 1937, next to his beloved late wife, Laura Spelman Rockefeller. A huge obelisk was erected on the site in memory of the great businessman and philanthropist.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

A who’s who of other famous permanent residents joined Garfield and Rockefeller over the years, including industrialists John Hay and Marcus Hanna; George Crile, founder of the Cleveland Clinic; Adella Prentiss Hughes, founder of the Cleveland Orchestra; baseball player Ray Chapman; architect Charles Brush; crime fighter Eliot Ness; former Browns owner Al Lerner; rock ‘n’ roll DJ legend Alan Freed; U.S. Representative Louis Stokes and his brother, Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes; and writer Harvey Pekar (pictured).

Collection of Historical Photographs of Ordinary Merchants

As well as the Garfield Memorial and the Rockefeller tract, Lake View’s top attractions include a monument to the 169 killed in the 1908 Collinwood School Fire (pictured).

Collection of Historical Photographs of Ordinary Merchants

Lake View also had an impact on the nearby area, as Italian stonemasons arrived in large numbers to build monuments and founded Little Italy a few blocks away.

Mason Joseph Carabelli, considered the founder of Little Italy, saw the need for monument work in Lake View and began recruiting his skilled countrymen for stonemasonry. These immigrants, many of whom came from the regions of Campobasso and Abruzzo, built a neighborhood in the shadow of the cemetery.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: 1937

Today, Carabelli’s final resting place is in Lake View.

But those are just famous locals: 110,000 Cleveland residents have made Lake View, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, their final home. More than 700 new burials take place each year.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Additionally, Lake View has expanded its walking tours, concerts, and other special events in recent years. These include themed tours, such as Famous Women of Cleveland, Cleveland Brewers, Notable African American Tours, and Garden Tours.

On Saturday, September 14, the cemetery will bring back its popular “Brass, Gangsters, and Robbers Walking Tour.” (For the full tour schedule and to register, go to

Lynn Ischay, The Ordinary Merchant: Katharine Goss

“The tours are a great opportunity to raise awareness, to bring in new people who may not have been here before. If people come and have a positive experience, they’ll want to come back, they’ll feel comfortable having a relative here one day,” says Goss.

“For a long time there has been a misconception that we were full. But we are one of the few urban cemeteries that is not. We have 60 acres of unused space, enough for another hundred years of funerals. We will be here for generations.

Marvin Fong, the ordinary merchant

Who’s who in Lake View, and where to find them

John D. Rockefeller: Industrialist and philanthropist. Section 10, lot 29.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Louis Germain DeForest: first burial (photo from family memorial). Section 1, lot 162

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Carl Stokes: First African-American mayor of a major American city. Section 5C, lot 116.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Ray Johnson Chapman: Cleveland Indians shortstop. Only Major League Baseball player to die from an injury sustained in a game, in 1920. Section 42, Lot 16.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Alan Freed: Host of the first rock concert, the Moondog Coronation Ball, and legendary DJ. Section 5E, Lot 383.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Garrett Morgan: Inventor of the traffic light and the gas mask. Item 50, lot 134.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Louis Stokes: Congressman. Item 64, Lot 75A

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Angel Haserot: Famous “weeping” angel statue. Section 9, lot 4.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Eliot Ness: Director of Cleveland Public Safety, 1935-1942; helped bring down Al Capone in Chicago. Section 7, lot 8.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Al Lerner: Owner of the Cleveland Browns. Item 65, Lot 45.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Harvey Pekar: Graphic artist. Section 7, lot 9-0.


Glenn Schwartz: Famous guitarist. Section 163, sub-lot 0.

Lynn Ischay, the regular dealer

Flora Pierre Mather: Philanthropist. Section 10, lot 65.

Most notable graves

Zelma George: Philanthropist also known as the headliner of the opera “The Medium” by Gian-Carlo Menotti, the first African-American to play a role typically performed by a white actress. Section 4, Lot 740.

George Crille: Founder of the Cleveland Clinic. Section 30, lot 51.

Jephta Wade: Founder of Lake View. Section 3, Batch 4.

Marcus Hanna: Businessman, politician and philanthropist. Section 9, lot 8.

Adela Prentiss-Hughes: Founder of the Cleveland Orchestra. Section 2, lot 394A.


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