New project: Every cemetery in Detroit


It’s about time I hatched this project: This year Eventually, 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?

Assumption Grotto
Beth El
B’Nai David
Ford Cemetery
Forest Hill
Forest Lawn
German Lutheran
Grand Lawn
Holy Cross
Mt. Elliott
Mt. Hazel
Mt. Olivet
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.

*NOTE (8/22/16): How is it possible that I can only manage to do one or two of these PER YEAR? But I’m not quitting yet.

Thanks to those of you who have offered additional sites! I’m still gonna DO THIS!

#detroit cemeteries#every cemetery in detroit


  1. Chris - July 11, 2013 @ 8:06 pm

    Assumption Grotto also has a cemetery behind the church. On Gratiot northeast of McNichols/Seymour.

  2. amy - July 12, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    Thanks Chris! Adding it to the list!

  3. J. - August 7, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

    I’ll be especially interested to read your post on Holy Cross, in southwest Detroit. I only have been there once, to see where my Russian great-grandmother was buried. She died at the age of 32, and left her immigrant husband five little girls to raise. The place had its own eerie beauty — some very old statuary as I recall; and yet modern industrial complexes have crept right up to the fence, and just beyond the peace and calm of the trees and icons, there are backfiring engines and slag rattling down chutes onto huge piles of industrial byproduct and waste. It seemed so terribly sad to see these forgotten memorials coated in black dust, and somehow worse in bleak winter weather. Looking forward to your take….

  4. marcusburrowes - August 9, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

    You’re still missing the oldest Detroit cemetery of all. The Fort Wayne indian mound, the last remaining vestige of the ~19 burial mounds once located in Springwells.

  5. Thomas Hamlin - March 3, 2014 @ 11:07 am


    Will you also be looking at “pauper” sections of cemeteries? I have some relatives that may have found their way there in the late 1800s.

    Do they list names of persons in pauper cemeteries?


    Thomas Hamlin

  6. Tori Hamlin - July 11, 2014 @ 7:58 am

    Hi Amy. Interesting. I was wondering if you answered the question of Thomas Hamlin from 3/3/14. I too am trying to find records of the pauper section. I don’t know if Thomas and I are related, I’m looking into the other side of my family at present.

    Thank you,
    Tori Hamlin

  7. theresa kulick - January 28, 2015 @ 4:59 am

    We are still looking for the gravesite of one last relative. we have tried many resources.
    He is our grandfather, Frank Szczygielski. Born 1870….Died 1948
    Any suggestions? Thank You.

  8. Bob Sullivan - January 31, 2016 @ 7:48 pm

    Fr. Gabriel Richard is buried inside Ste. Anne’s Church. Does that count?

  9. A.K. Zak - August 23, 2016 @ 1:38 pm

    I love your project and eagerly await your next discovery. PS: You might want to take both a Saturday & Sunday to visit Mt. Olivet. It is massive! My people are there, so believe me I know. Their website is very helpful in determining who is buried where.

    You might want to use Find-A-Grave website as a helpful, time-saving resource; you’ll be glad you did. Also don’t forget Trinity Cemetery, the old German Lutheran resting place. The actor who played Inspector Todd in “Beverly Hills Cop” is buried there.

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