Feature

Lake View Cemetery

Matt MacDonald
The first time I ever encountered Lake View Cemetery I was barely into my 20’s. My cousin and I were trying to find the Coventry area of Cleveland Heights because she had never been there and I had.

It was our maiden voyage and we got completely lost.

We were aiming the car towards Mayfield Road (since Coventry “starts” there) and instead we got turned around and ended up on Euclid Avenue. But since I had been to Coventry before and my cousin had not, I knew that Lake View sat in between Euclid and Mayfield. Cutting through the cemetery got us where we needed to go.

That was my first encounter.

Decades later, my family and I relocated to Cleveland Heights. Much to my chagrin well over a year had passed before I decided to take the kids down there one day just to check it out.

It was freaking amazing!

Cleveland Heights is commonly considered one of Cleveland’s first suburbs. As such, you can tell before you get 100 yards from either gate that this cemetery was erected during a time when people wanted to pay serious tribute to their loved ones.

“Lake View Cemetery, located in the vibrant University Circle area, was organized in 1869. We are considered “Cleveland’s Outdoor Museum and Arboretum.” It’s Cleveland’s historical, horticultural, architectural, sculptural and geological gem. Our magnificent collection of trees, shrubs and plants make for an exceptional green space in an urban area. This “green space” provides a wonderful refuge for birds and small animals, as well as a showplace of extraordinary architectural and sculptural treasures” (Lake View Cemetery, 2013).

Tombstones, crypts, personal monuments (I’m serious, there are at least a dozen Kubrick-ian obelisks punctuating all throughout the nature)… There is no lie when Lake View lays claim to being an outdoor museum.

Related fact: Lake View Cemetery is also the final resting place of Elliot Ness and President James Garfield.

Since I first visited with my children, I always make a point of going at least once a month. I don’t have a graveyard fetish. I just have an immense appreciation for something so amazing that is so easily overlooked.