• New project: Every cemetery in Detroit

    by  • July 11, 2013 • Every cemetery in Detroit • 10 Comments

    Elmwood Cemetery

    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?

    Assumption Grotto
    Beth El
    B’Nai David
    Elmwood
    Evergreen
    Ford Cemetery
    Forest Lawn
    German Lutheran
    Gethsemane
    Grand Lawn
    Holy Cross
    Mt. Elliott
    Mt. Hazel
    Mt. Olivet
    Old Redford (Bell Branch)
    Sacred Heart of Mary
    St. Bonaventure Monastery (Solanus Casey Center)
    St. Paul of the Cross (Passionist)
    Scotch Settlement (Evergreen)
    Woodmere
    Woodlawn

    *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!

    10 Responses to New project: Every cemetery in Detroit

    1. Chris
      July 11, 2013 at 8:06 pm

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

    2. amy
      July 12, 2013 at 8:25 am

      Thanks Chris! Adding it to the list!

    3. Pingback: Every cemetery in Detroit: Evergreen Cemetery | The Night Train

    4. Pingback: Every cemetery in Detroit: Assumption Grotto | The Night Train

    5. J.
      August 7, 2013 at 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….

    6. marcusburrowes
      August 9, 2013 at 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.

    7. Pingback: Every cemetery in Detroit: Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery | The Night Train

    8. Thomas Hamlin
      March 3, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Amy,

      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?

      Thanks,

      Thomas Hamlin

    9. Tori Hamlin
      July 11, 2014 at 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

    10. Pingback: Every Cemetery in Detroit: Old Redford Cemetery / Bell Branch Cemetery | The Night Train

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