When I first moved to Cincinnati I lived downtown. Because I was new to town, and they felt downtown was in fairly close proximity an acquaintance asked if I had ever been to Spring Grove Cemetery. Being in my 30's, single, and very much alive I thought it a somewhat odd question.
Fast forward a number of years. I'm now married, and have 4 kids and am beginning to do portrait photography. I had a client request Spring Grove Cemetery as a location. I had still never been there, so I took a day to go explore. I spent the entire day hiking through a small portion of this vast cemetery taking photos, and fully understanding why that person had asked if I had been there. Spring Grove was a beautiful place and clearly worthy of being considered a Cincinnati landmark.
So, how did this place come to be? In the 1830's and 1840's there was a cholera epidemic. The increased number of deaths highlighted a problem of overcrowding, and in some cases poorly maintained grounds at the local church cemeteries that were available.
Spurred by these issues the Cincinnati Horticultural Society formed an association in 1844 to find a location where they could create a new cemetery. Their vision was to have a beautiful, clean location for Cincinnatians to bury their deceased that would serve as a park like setting for the living.
Salmon Chase was instrumental in moving this from a vision to a reality. After lobbying legislators a special act was granted on January 21, 1845, and Spring Grove Cemetery was born. The first person was laid to rest on the grounds on September 1, 1845.
In 1987 Spring Grove Cemetery became Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum to fully reflect its park like atmosphere. Spring Grove covers 733 acres with about 2/3 of that land being landscaped and maintained. If you have not visited this Cincinnati landmark, it's a great place to visit. There are a number of special events through the year like car shows, and 5k walks and even Civil War events (there are a number of Civil War veterans in the cemetery). Use this map to guide you through your adventure (click on the word map).
* information for this blog was found in the history information on the Spring Grove web site.