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The Treasures of Woodland Cemetery

May 27, 2012

When I moved to the historic neighborhood of South Park several months ago, the hill overlooking the district peaked my curiosity, but it wasn’t until earlier this month that I had my first visit.  It would be putting it mildly to say that the hill–which is a part of the 200 acres that make up Woodland Cemetery–is a hidden treasure; most Dayton folks know the importance of this place, and for a newcomer like me, I was surprised to not have made the trek earlier.  The opulence of the individuals that lay at rest in this cemetery is only rivaled by the remarkable history, design, art and architecture that live alongside their graves.

From Woodland’s webpage:

Founded in 1841, Woodland Cemetery is one of the nation’s five oldest rural/garden cemeteries and a unique cultural, botanical and educational resource in the heart of Dayton, Ohio.

Over 3,000 trees and 165 specimens of native Midwestern woody plants grace the Arboretum’s 200 verdant acres of rolling hills. Many of the trees are more than a century old and 9 have been designated “Ohio Champions”… by the Ohio Forestry Association.

The Romanesque gateway, chapel, and office, completed in 1889 are on the National Register of Historic Places with the chapel featuring one of the finest original Tiffany windows in the country. The Woodland Mausoleum adds a modern touch to this historic site while featuring 12 beautiful stained glass windows depicting woodland themes from literature and a magnificent rendition of Handel’s “The Messiah.”

Thousands tour the grounds each year to visit the gravesites of Wilbur and Orville Wright, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, Matilda and Levi Stanley, Queen and King of the Gypsies; Governor James Cox, writer Erma Bombeck, Jeraldyne Blunden, founder of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company; inventor Charles F. Kettering and entrepreneurs John H. Patterson (NCR), George P. Huffman (Huffy Bicycles), George Mead (Mead Paper), and Preserved Smith (Barney & Smith Mfg. Co.).

Though rich with history, Woodland Cemetery continues to perform over 600 interments a year and recently began a comprehensive Pre-Planning program to supplement the area’s widest array of interment and memorial package options.

Learn more about Woodland Cemetery at or

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