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How One Ohio Cemetery Continues to Inspire the Living for Over 150 Years

Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio, has been drawing visitors and residents for over one hundred and fifty years. This 285-acre resting place is home to Presidents, dignitaries, and local members of the community. But it is more than a final resting place for the deceased. It is a resting place for the living.

In the mid-1850s, church graveyards were increasingly getting overcrowded, and many urban areas struggled with crowded unkept conditions for the deceased. Additionally, there needed to be more opportunity for the cemeteries to expand due to increased demand for land and subsequent rising costs. Many soon realized the need for space beyond the confines of the city.

The gently rolling hills and forested valleys drew developers to the land now known as Lake View Cemetery. Modeled after elaborate English gardens, Lake View was designed as a garden cemetery and is one of the largest in the United States.

Paying homage to nature, the roadways, monuments, statues, and landscaping were designed to create a tranquil yet vibrant cemetery while honoring those who have passed. Carefully crafted gardens of trees, shrubbery, and flowers highlight the already natural beauty of the land and additionally serve educational purposes.

Upon entering the majestic gates of the cemetery, you will be surprised by the life encountered here. Tour the grounds by trolley or with naturalists as you discover the wild side of things around here. On concert days, music lifts from the treetops. Other days are reflective, and you may encounter a guided meditation. Enjoy a twilight tour or take a walk in the winter garden.

It is also a place of peace and tranquility.

Sculptures silently tell stories of heartbreak intermingled with joy. Reflections on Wade Pond calm our souls while a jukebox fashioned out of a headstone for Alan Freed brings smiles as we fondly reflect on the impact the lives of those buried here have had on our lives. 

The gardens live and breathe throughout each season with their beauty. Spring sun brings the daffodil hill to life, giving way to summer blossoms before bowing to the rich autumn hues of the majestic maples and oaks. The winter landscape glistens under the frost creating a monochromatic backdrop for exquisite art and architecture.

The Wade Memorial Chapel’s stained-glass shimmers with opulence and depth at any time of the year. Designed by Fredrick Wilson and constructed by Tiffany, the window, known as the Flight of the Souls, remains a testament to the artistry and beauty of his work. A mosaic on the Chapel wall symbolizes the law of the Old Testament, and the east wall depicts the fulfillment of the laws of the prophets through the birth of Christianity.

The cemetery is a nonprofit and is the final resting place for dignitaries and average citizens. Founders never intended to be selective but rather inclusive. President Garfield and John D Rockefeller are memorialized here, along with Elliot Ness and Alan Freed. Lake View has no religious affiliation or ethnicity and welcomes all who come here.

Lake View’s carefully designed architecture and grounds are not only for the deceased but as a respite for the living, serving as a poignant link between humanity and nature. For more information on visiting or supporting this prized historical gem, visit

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