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Elmwood Cemetery (Detroit, Michigan)

Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit is one of Michigan's most important historic cemeteries Located at 1200 Elmwood Street in Detroit's Eastside Historic Cemetery District, Elmwood is the oldest continuously operating, non-denominational cemetery in Michigan


  • 1 History
  • 2 Some prominent burials
  • 3 References
  • 4 External links


The cemetery was dedicated October 8, 1846 as a rural cemetery and incorporated as a non-profit corporation by Special Act 62 of the Michigan Legislature on March 5, 1849 The first burial occurred three weeks prior to the dedication on September 10, 1846 Founded by some of early Detroit’s leading residents, Elmwood originally covered 42 acres 170,000 m2 Over time, it expanded to encompass 86 acres 350,000 m2 and is the final resting-place of many notable Detroiters as well as ordinary citizens In 1850, however, the cemetery became slightly smaller when Temple Beth El purchased one-half acre to establish what is now Michigan's oldest Jewish Cemetery2 The State of Michigan designated it as a State Historic Site in 19751

Burt family tombstone

Elmwood was the first fully integrated cemetery in the Midwest A short distance from downtown Detroit, Elmwood continues to serve residents of all ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs

Elmwood’s park-like grounds containing a gently-flowing stream and low hills were designed in 1890 by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted They are based on the design of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Gothic Revival chapel on the grounds was constructed in 1856 It underwent renovation in 1961 and was destroyed by fire in 1976 With a public outpouring of support, the building was restored and continues to play an important role

Elmwood Gatehouse

In 1874, the State of Michigan purchased a section to inter Civil War veterans and in 1876, the Firemen's Lot was dedicated with a monument that depicts firefighting equipment and the fire hall that once stood at the corner of the present Renaissance Center on Randolph and Jefferson Avenue The Civil War section holds 205 graves today2

The Gothic Revival gatehouse was added in 1876 and in 2003 its portal was closed and filled with a reception room designed to harmonize with the historic architecture The gate was closed because it was unable to accommodate larger vehicles which needed access to the grounds3

The cemetery makes an appearance in the film Detroit 9000 as the scene of a shootout

Some prominent burialsedit

Marker of John Norvell's grave
  • Russell A Alger 1836-1907, Michigan governor 1885-1887, US Senator, and US Secretary of War
  • William Edmond Armitage 1830-1873, second Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Wisconsin 1870-1873
  • John Biddle 1792-1859, delegate to US Congress from Michigan Territory, Mayor of Detroit 1827-1828
  • Henry Billings Brown 1836-1913, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 1890-1906
  • Lewis Cass 1782-1866, Michigan Territorial Governor 1813-1831, US Senator, US Secretary of War, US Secretary of State
  • Zachariah Chandler 1813-1879, US Senator from Michigan, US Secretary of the Interior, Mayor of Detroit 1851-1852
  • Philip St George Cooke 1809-1895, US Civil War General
  • Donald M Dickinson 1846-1917, US Postmaster General 1888-1889
  • Elon Farnsworth 1799-1847, Attorney General from 1843 to 1845 and Chancellor of Michigan
  • Douglass Houghton 1809-1845, geologist and Mayor of Detroit 1842
  • Bela Hubbard 1814-1896, geologist, surveyor
  • Jonathan Kearsley 1786-1859, two-time Mayor of Detroit 1826, 1829 and veteran of the War of 1812
  • Charles Larned -1834, Attorney General of Michigan Territory and veteran of the War of 1812
  • Lucius Lyon 1800-1851, US Senator from 1837 to 1839 and first Congressman from Michigan's Second District
  • Margaret Mather 1859-1898, Victorian actress
  • James McMillan 1838-1902, US senator from 1889 to 1902
  • Charles Merrill 1792–1872, American entrepreneur and lumber tycoon
  • Truman H Newberry 1864-1945, businessman, US Senator from Michigan 1919-1922, Secretary of the Navy
  • John Norvell 1789-1850, US Senator 1837-1841, War of 1812 veteran and newspaper editor
  • Thomas W Palmer 1830-1913, US Senator 1883-1889
  • Zina Pitcher 1797-1872, physician and two-time Mayor of Detroit 1840–41, 1843
  • Andrew Porter 1820-1872, US Army general in the Civil War
  • Jerome H Remick 1867-1931, music publisher
  • Solomon Sibley 1769-1846, delegate to US Congress from Michigan Territory, Territorial Supreme Court Justice, and first Mayor of Detroit 1806 under the first charter
  • Fred "Sonic" Smith 1949-1994, guitarist best known for his work with the rock band MC5
  • Martha Jean Steinberg 1930-2000, Radio personality
  • David Stuart 1816-1868, Congressman 1853-1855
  • Sam Thompson 1860–1922, Outfielder and Baseball Hall of Fame member
  • Coleman Young 1918-1997, Mayor of Detroit 1974-1994
  • Hiram Walker 1816-1899, entrepreneur; founder Hiram Walker and Sons Distillery
  • Eber Brock Ward 1811-1875, Detroit’s first millionaire
  • Alpheus S Williams 1810-1878, American Civil War general and US Representative from Michigan
  • John R Williams 1782-1854, first and sixth Mayor of Detroit under the second charter 1824–25, 1830 and namesake of John R Street4
  • Thomas R Williams 1815-1862, American Civil War general killed at the Battle of Baton Rouge


  1. ^ a b "Elmwood Cemetery" Michigan State Housing Development Authority Archived from the original on June 6, 2011 Retrieved September 4, 2010 
  2. ^ a b Franck, Michael S 1996 Elmwood Endures: History of a Detroit Cemetery Detroit: Wayne State University ISBN 0-8143-2591-2 
  3. ^ "Take a Tour" Historic Elmwood Cemetery Retrieved November 18, 2010 permanent dead link
  4. ^ Mary Bailey 17 February 2000 "Detroit's Street Names Honor Early Leaders" Detroit News detnewscom Retrieved 2011-03-29 

External linksedit

  • Metro Detroit portal
  • Death portal
  • Elmwood Cemetery official site
  • Find A Grave: Famous burials in Elmwood
  • Find A Grave: Burials in Elmwood
  • Intermentnet: Elmwood Cemetery
  • Tales from the Crypts: Elmwood Cemetery storiesdead link The Detroit News
  • Michigan Historical Markers: Elmwood Cemetery

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