July 11, 2013 by Amy Elliott Bragg
New project: Every cemetery in Detroit
It’s about time I hatched this project: This year, I’m visiting every cemetery in Detroit.
At first this seemed daunting, because for some reason I had it stuck in my head that there were over 30 cemeteries in Detroit. Where did that number come from? I have no idea, but it was so overwhelming that I never actually sat down and counted out a list of every cemetery in Detroit.
Today I did. I count
17 18 19 more than 20. That is doable not as bad as I thought! Maybe some of you have already done it. And I’ve already been to half of them, including the one that’s inside the GM Poletown plant and only open twice a year. So everything else should be a cake walk.
So here’s my half-year’s resolution: Visit every cemetery in Detroit. (Oh and: Spend more time in my hammock. And also: Go to the beach on a weekday. And more day hikes! But I digress.)
A few ground rules: We’re starting with city-proper cemeteries. They don’t have to be operating, but they must be extant. (I’m not gonna make it a point to stand around in the middle of Hart Plaza or Cass Avenue because someone found some bones there once.) I’m not counting stand-alone tombs, like Stevens T. Mason’s in Capitol Park (although I can’t think of any other stand-alone tombs). I will visit all of them afresh, even those I have been to dozens of times (looking at you, Elmwood). Then I’ll write about it. I’ve decided that I will not count church columbaria as cemeteries although I’d like to visit all of those, too, at some point.
I begin with a low-hanging cemetery: unassuming Evergreen on Woodward Avenue, not far from my own home. Despite countless visits to right-next-door Woodlawn, until a few weeks ago I had never visited Evergreen, because it looked less interesting. That’s true, but it was more interesting, and much larger, than I expected.
For those playing at home (cemetery Bingo?), here’s my stitched-up list of every cemetery in Detroit. I’ll add links as I go. Am I missing anything?
Old Redford (Bell Branch)
Sacred Heart of Mary (Greenwood)
St. Bonaventure Monastery (Solanus Casey Center)
St. Paul of the Cross (Passionist)
Scotch Settlement (Evergreen)
*NOTE (7/12/13): I’ve realized that I’m missing a couple of church graveyards, which I am working on collecting and adding to the list. We might do all of those as a round-up, but not sure yet!
*NOTE (11/18/13): Will this happen before the end of the year? It’s not looking good! But I remain steadfast in this task, if somewhat slower than I thought I could go.
*NOTE (9/1/14): Still doing this / back at it.
Thanks to those of you who have already offered additional sites!