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When the founding trustees of the Lake View Cemetery Association stood on 285 acres in the countryside of Cleveland, they knew they had found the tranquil setting for what would become Lake View Cemetery. Their vision was bold: create a peaceful, beautiful final resting place that would also serve as a space for the living to enjoy. It was 1869, their vision came to fruition, and still rings true 150 years later.
Lake View is both an arboretum, boasting some of the oldest native and exotic trees in the area complemented by a stunning array of shrubs and flowering plants, and an outdoor museum of modern and Victorian funerary sculpture. Every day Lake View welcomes families visiting their loved ones and locals and tourists exploring Cleveland’s history throughout the grounds. Walkers and joggers rack up miles as they take advantage of the winding roads and hilly terrain. School groups come in by the busload to learn about great civic, social, and cultural leaders, including President James A. Garfield, John D. Rockefeller, and Congressman Louis Stokes. Two structures in particular have become destinations unto themselves: the James A. Garfield Memorial built in 1889, and Wade Memorial Chapel (featuring one of the few extant interiors totally designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany). Each year more than 100,000 people explore the grounds and visit these community treasures on their own, or as guests on one of dozens of tours and educational events.
115 years after the founding of Lake View, trustees of the Association recognized the ever growing need for philanthropy to support the infrastructure and public spaces for which they have become known. In 1984, the Lake View Cemetery Foundation was established to do just that: maintain, preserve, and enhance the historically significant buildings and monuments, horticulture, botanical gardens, and landscape of Lake View Cemetery.
The long, hallowed history of Lake View is its foremost strength; however, it is also at the heart of its challenges.
The long, hallowed history of Lake View is its foremost strength; however, it is also at the heart of its challenges. There are 65 acres, approximately 100 years’ worth of land, that remains undeveloped for future burials. The stunning four-season landscape, maintained by a dedicated grounds crew that ensures the grounds look their best and is always accessible to thousands of visitors every day, 365 days a year. In order to ensure Lake View can grow well into the next 150 years, there is a need to invest in the infrastructure of Lake View, with caring for the grounds and continuing the restoration of the Garfield Memorial as the most pressing needs.
The President James A. Garfield Memorial
Investing in the next phase of the Garfield Memorial restoration project will return the splendor of the original structure, uphold the unique architectural features and protect and preserve the Memorial’s legacy, while simultaneously enhancing the visitor experience and contributing to Cleveland’s civic capital. The restoration is currently underway and will:
In addition to the significant work of restoring the Garfield Memorial, the care and stewardship of Lake View’s historic grounds is a priority. We are dedicated to the commitment to the vision created by Lake View’s founders: to remain a sanctuary from ever-developing Cleveland and enjoy moments of peace, reflection, and reverence among the rolling hills, vast gardens and trees, ponds, streams, and wildlife. This includes preserving the trees of Lake View, improving the water infrastructure, and upgrading the Veterans Section.
Preserving Lake View’s Trees
Lake View is home to more than 10,000 trees, many of which are more than 100 years old. A 2016 study by Davey Resource revealed the immediate need for tree pruning, deep root fertilization, tree removal, and the planting of new trees. Caring for these magnificent trees will nurture the continued beauty of Lake View’s historic grounds to the enjoyment and safety of visitors.
Improving Water Infrastructure
The pond behind Wade Chapel offers a serene walking path, benches for reflection, and a final resting place for a number of Cleveland luminaries. The pond’s natural habitat is in desperate need of stabilization to return its natural beauty and by investing in infrastructure will preserve the integrity of the gravesites and enhance overall efficiency.
Upgrading the Veterans Section
Founded 10 years ago, Lake View provides a dedicated section for veterans and offer military funerals for honorably discharged servicemen and women. To honor their incredible sacrifice, Lake View is planning on enhancing this cherished area of the Cemetery with five flags, representing each branch of the military, benches, and a covered committal area.
As Lake View looks to its future, the commitment to the original vision of the founders remains paramount. With an eye on the future, Lake View will continue to be a place for remembrance and funeral services, celebrations, tours, education, and sacred moments. For 150 years, Lake View has been a caring steward of its grounds, and with philanthropic support, a landscape with historic value will be secured for future generations. Additional investment will also serve the neighboring community and attract other positive investments, sparking further vitality for the region.
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