Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum may not seem like a likely place to go in Cincinnati, but this place is incredible! It is rich with Cincinnati history and is full of beauty in the midst of what would seem like an otherwise average cemetery. This cemetery, however, is massive-at 733 acres it makes for an unexpected escape into a whole other world.
The cemetery opened in 1845 in response to the cholera epidemic in Cincinnati. The land was specifically chosen to serve in the future as an expandable cemetery, but also could accommodate trees and flowers that would make it a beautifully landscaped cemetery as well. As of right now, only 450 acres of the 733 are landscaped and maintained and the rest remains undeveloped. This allows plenty of room for the cemetery to continue to grow for another hundred years or more!
Spring Grove Cemetery became a National Historic Landmark in 2007. This is actually a pretty huge deal, especially because that makes it just one of five cemeteries in the country that holds this title! This cemetery serves as a memorial to many of Cincinnati's most influential residents. You will likely see more than a few familiar names as you explore!
Throughout the cemetery, there are over 44 miles of roadways; and as mentioned above, there are 733 acres on the property. This could make it easy to get lost. Fortunately, my friend works for the funeral home and she was able to lead me around and show me some of the most notable memorials and mausoleums. The one above, Dexter, was probably my favorite that I saw while I was there. There are so many throughout the cemetery that are worth checking out-there is even a sphinx statue in there somewhere. Check out a map of the whole cemetery to find some of the most noteworthy ones!
Besides all the history that can be found in the cemetery, the beauty of the landscaping cannot be denied either! In fact, the landscaping can be considered historical itself. Adolph Strauch developed a new landscaping concept called the lawn plan when he became the superintendent of Spring Grove in 1855. This concept entailed rerouting the roads to follow natural contours in the land and also included more lakes and garden space. At the time this was a new concept, but now has become the standard for most cemeteries in the country. There is even a place in Spring Grove that has been set aside as untouched by any of the memorials called Woodland Preserve.
My favorite part about Spring Grove is that they desire to create a place that can serve both as a memorial to those that have passed, but also serve the living and allow for them to appreciate the cemetery. They have even marked out a 5K path throughout the cemetery to serve the community. It's an excellent place to run, walk or bike! Definitely a must visit in Cincinnati-and Ohio!