I really love Cleveland. I think we’re a totally underrated city, and I want to do my best to help spread the word that this should be a place you visit at least once. Last month I shared some of my favorite spots in Cleveland, and before that, I spilled the beans on my favorite beachcombing spots in the city. Now, I’m back to talk about my favorite cemeteries.
One of the very first things I do after choosing a location to take a trip to is search for their best cemeteries. I wanna check out all the coolest headstones, and wander the oldest graveyards. Trouble is, without putting in a ton of research, it’s not that easy. Unless a city has a wildly popular memorial or is known for their cemeteries (hey there, Salem!) most people don’t necessarily go around posting lots of photos or information.
Buuut this is The Dainty Squid, and it’s October so here we go!
▴ Lake View Cemetery
12316 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH
Cleveland’s most popular cemetery! The kind of place that even if visiting cemeteries in each city you visit isn’t something you regularly do, you might come here. 285 beautiful acres, many famous interments including a former president, tons of beautiful headstones, and even a few geocaches. It’s a wonderful place to spend an afternoon – although it would take you a whole heck of a lot longer if you wanted to see everything. Every single time I go I find something new!
Must see memorial – The Haserot Angel, of course! A bronze sculpture of the ‘Angel of Death Victorious’ who appears to be weeping black tears. Lake View is pretty large and he’s easy to miss but the good news is you can simply use your GPS. The ‘maps’ app has The Haserot Angel listed as a landmark. Using the directions will only get you to the cemetery, not the memorial. Once inside you can use the location pinned as The Haserot Angel and yours to work your way closer.
Another favorite of mine is the weeping woman a few photos below. She’s life-sized and honestly, one of the most haunting statues I have ever seen. I am not superstitious nor do I think cemeteries are creepy but I’ll tell you what, I don’t like turning my back on her. My photo doesn’t do her extremely detailed and realistic face justice.
▴ Monroe Street Cemetery
Monroe Street Cemetery is a historic cemetery on the West side of Cleveland, until the late 1890’s it was actually the only public cemetery on the West side. It is said that burials began in 1818 but the earliest headstone that can be found is 1827. There are currently over 31k people buried on the 13.63 acres, over 500 of which were soldiers. During the civil war, soldiers who died at Army camps near Cleveland were often buried here. There are also two mayors, as well as many notable folks who helped build Cleveland and Ohio City buried here. My favorite fun fact about the cemetery though? It was fenced during the 19th century to keep out wandering hogs.
Must see memorial – This isn’t one specific memorial but since the moment I spotted them I’ve been enamored with the headstones that line the fence closest to the junkyard. When you enter the cemetery they’ll be to your far right approximately half way down the fence. They’re old and often, the greenery around them keeps them mostly hidden. The rest of the cemetery feels so open and inviting but this line of headstones feels so tucked away and secretive.
▴ Riverside Cemetery
Riverside Cemetery is 102.5 hilly, green, tree-covered acres. Riverside was the first major-sized, non-sectarian, garden-type Cemetery established west of the Cuyahoga River. The cemetery is just over 140 years old and offers a wide variety of memorials. Just like Lake View, on each visit I find something new and interesting.
Must see memorial – One of my favorite headstones in Riverside is Thomas Baran’s. It’s an interesting collage of seemingly random items. Easily one of the most unique headstones I have ever seen! Multiple portraits of Jesus, book covers, telescopes, planets, and so much more can be found on the headstone. I have a few more photos of it located in this post. If you’re entering the cemetery off of Pearl Road, stay to your left and about 3/4 of the way to the back of the cemetery, it’ll be on your right side.
Two notable mentions –
▴ Erie Street Cemetery is the city’s oldest existing cemetery. It’s fairly small but definitely worth a peek if you’re out wandering around the city. Although they aren’t all marked, there are nearly 18,000 interments!
▴ Not in Cleveland but worth a stop if you’re traveling through or up for an afternoon drive, Willoughby Village Cemetery is home to ‘the girl in blue’. One of my absolute favorite headstones. Read more about her here.
I’d love to hear about your favorite cemeteries in your city!