Euclid Avenue gate, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Euclid Avenue gate, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

If Cleveland’s architecture provides insight into its history, its magnificent Lakeview Cemetery yields insights into the dreams, accomplishments, and tragedies of its people.

Modeled after the great garden cemeteries of Victorian era England and France and opened in 1869, it is the  permanent resting place of more than 100,000 Clevelanders.

Cleveland skyline from heights above Lakeview Cemetery

Cleveland skyline from heights above Lakeview Cemetery

 

Nearly 1,000 permanent residents are added  each year and a quarter of the 285 acres are yet undeveloped.

Many of the immigrant stonemasons who landscaped the cemetery and carved its monuments lived in adjacent Little Italy.

Gravesite statuary, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Gravesite statuary, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

One of the more poignant memorials is to the nearly two hundred children killed in the Collinwood school fire of 1908.

The cemetery is the final resting place of twentieth century notables, as well as of some of historical footnote interest.

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

James A. Garfield, twentieth President of the U.S., is the most well-known of the statesmen buried here, which also include U.S. Senator and Republican Party kingmaker Mark Hanna, U. S. Secretary of State John Hay, and Newton D. Baker, World War I Secretary of War.

Oil baron John D. Rockefeller is also buried here.

Garfield, a former Civil War general, college president, and Congressman, became the Republicans’ dark horse nominee on the 36th ballot and won the election by only 10,000 votes.

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Only four months after his inauguration in 1881, he was shot by a disappointed officer seeker in Washington’s railroad station and lingered for two months before he died.

His monument is an imposing sandstone structure that combines Romanesque, Gothic and Byzantine styles of architecture, and stands 180 feet tall.

On a clear day, visitors can see up to forty miles of Lake Erie shore from its balcony.

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Garfield Monument, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

 

Garfield’s life and death are depicted in five terra cotta panels, and more than 100 life size statues.  The Memorial Hall is done in gold mosaics, colored marble, stained glass windows and red granite columns.

Cleveland Indians short stop Ray Chapman, killed when struck in the head by a pitch in 1920, is buried here.  He is one of only two MLB players to die of a head injury sustained on the playing field during a game.

Lakeview is also the burial site of pioneer rock ‘n’ roll DJ Alan “Moondog” Freed.

 

Gravesite statuary, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Gravesite statuary, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Some of those buried here are not themselves well-known, but have made widely-known contributions from the profound to the lighthearted.  Garrett Morgan invented the gas mask and the three-colored traffic light .  James Salisbury invented… the Salisbury steak.

The ashes of Untouchables detective Eliot Ness, Cleveland’s Director of Public Safety from 1935-42, are scattered here.  So are the ashes of comic book writer Harvey Pekar, known for his groundbreaking series American Splendor.

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

The cemetery’s Wade Chapel is a must-see.  Built in memory of Western Union founder Jeptha Wade, it contains one of the few surviving interiors totally designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Massive bronze doors set into the Neo-Classical style exterior open on a chapel dominated by Tiffany’s stunning stained glass window.

Its brilliant colors are at once opalescent, iridescent, and translucent.

 

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

 

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland

 

A mosaic on the Chapel’s west wall symbolizes prophecy and the law of the Old Testament.

 

The mosaic on the east wall symbolizes the fulfillment of the Prophets’ laws by Christianity.

 

Both were constructed in the Tiffany Studios in New York and re-assembled on site.

Gravesite statue "Angel of Death Victorious" by sculptor Herman Matzen.

Gravesite statue “Angel of Death Victorious” by sculptor Herman Matzen.

Also check out the smaller but well known memorial, “Angel of Death Victorious”  at the gravesite of the Haserot family, created by sculptor Herman Matzen.

 

See my related post on La Recoleta (one of National Geographic Top 10 cemeteries) in my post Links to a Buenos Aires past.  

See also my related Cleveland posts:

Both Cleveland and its Public Square, along with Cleveland’s Little Italy, figure prominently in my recently published novel Lifelines: An American Dream, available on Amazon.

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