Elmwood Cemetery

Image Number: 00343
<br>Detail of statue at McKibbin gravesite at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00344
<br>Detail of headstone at Goodwin gravesite at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00345
<br>Detail of Caroline Pitts sarcophagus at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00346
<br>McKibbin gravesite at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00347
<br>Edgerton gravesite at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00348
<br>Detail of statue at Sinclair gravesite at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00349
<br>Detail of Hall gravesite at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00350
<br>Michigan Governor Henry Porter Baldwin gravesite at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00351
<br>Detail of Michigan Governor Russell A. Alger mausoleum at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00352
<br>Detail of Stephens sarcophagus at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00353
<br>Detail of Rolshoven-Bolton gravesite at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00354
<br>Detail of Behr gravesite at Elmwood Cemetery
--Detroit, Michigan

Location Name:  Elmwood Cemetery (Detroit, Michigan)

Location Type:  Cemetery

Year Opened:  1849


Elmwood Cemetery’s history begins with that of the land on which it was built. It was here, along what was then known as Parents Creek, that on 31 July 1763 the Battle of Bloody Run took place. The British attempted to make a surprise attack on Chief Pontiac’s encampment along Parents Creek (which now run through Elmwood’s grounds). Pontiac had learned of the British plan and successfully repelled the attack. Parents Creek was said to have run red with the blood of the twenty British troops killed in the skirmish. Ever since then, the creek has been known as Bloody Run in remembrance of the battle.

In 1846, land was purchased along Bloody Run from the George Hunt farm, with intentions to create a cemetery. In 1849 Elmwood Cemetery was incorporated; though the first burial took place in 1846. Elmwood was the first fully integrated cemetery in the Midwest, and is the oldest non-denominational cemetery in Michigan. Over the years additional purchases of nearby land resulted in the present-day 86-acre cemetery.

In 1856 the Norman-gothic limestone chapel was built, followed by the limestone Victorian-gothic gatehouse in 1870. Originally the gatehouse’s center window was an open drive used to access the cemetery. In 1890, famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead was brought to Elmwood to enhance the picturesque cemetery and the layout of the park. Despite the 1976 destruction of the chapel from fire (it has since been reconstructed), the beautiful Elmwood still holds an amazing array of historic memorials to some of Detroit’s most prestigious residents. Today the cemetery is home to thirty private mausoleums. The park-like setting is home to many species of trees, plants and animals as well.

As one of Detroit’s most prestigious burial grounds, Elmwood is home to the gravesites of many notable people. Here is a brief list of some of Elmwood’s famous ‘residents’:

  • Russell Alexander Alger (Governor of Michigan, 1885-1887; U.S. Secretary of War, 1897-1899; U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1902-1907)
  • Henry Porter Baldwin (Governor of Michigan, 1869-1873; U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1879-1881)
  • John Biddle (Mayor of Detroit, 1827-1828; Delegate to Congress from Michigan Territory, 1829-1831)
  • Henry Billings Brown (U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1890-1906)
  • Alexander Woodruff Buel (U.S. Representative from Michigan, 1849-1851)
  • Lewis Cass (U.S. Secretary of State, 1857-1860; U.S. Secretary of War, 1831-1836, Territorial Governor of Michigan, 1813-1831; U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1849-1857)
  • Zachariah Chandler (U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1879; U.S. Secretary of Interior, 1875-1877; Mayor of Detroit, 1851-1852)
  • John Logan Chipman (U.S. Representative from Michigan, 1887-1893)
  • George Pierre Codd (U.S. Representative from Michigan, 1921-1923)
  • George S. Davis (Co-founder of Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Company)
  • Edwin Denby (U.S. Representative from Michigan, 1905-1911; U.S. Secretary of Navy, 1921-1924)
  • Donald M. Dickinson (U.S. Postmaster General, 1888-1889)
  • Douglass Houghton (State geologist and naturalist; Mayor of Detroit, 1842)
  • Jacob Merritt Howard (U.S. Representative from Michigan, 1841-1843; U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1889-1902)
  • William Alanson Howard (U.S. Representative from Michigan, 1855-1859, 1860-1861; Governor of Dakota Territory, 1878-1880)
  • John Christian Lodge (Mayor of Detroit, 1922-1923, 1924, 1927-1929)
  • Henry William Lord (U.S. Representative from Michigan, 1881-1883)
  • Lucius Lyon (U.S. Representative from Michigan, 1843-1845; Delegate to Congress from Michigan Territory, 1833-1835; U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1837-1839)
  • William Cotter Maybury (U.S. Representative from Michigan, 1883-1887; Mayor of Detroit, 1897-1904)
  • Robert McClelland (Governor of Michigan, 1852-1853)
  • James McMillan (U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1889-1902)
  • John Stoughton Newberry (U.S. Representative from Michigan, 1879-1881)
  • Truman Handy Newberry (U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1919-1922; U.S. Secretary of Navy, 1908-1909)
  • John Norvell (U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1837-1841)
  • Thomas Witherell Palmer (U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1883-1889)
  • Hervey Coke Parke (Co-founder of Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Company)
  • George Bryan Porter (Governor of Michigan Territory, 1831-1834)
  • Solomon Sibley (Delegate to Congress from Michigan Territory, 1820-1823; First Mayor of Detroit under First Charter, 1806)
  • Frederick Dewey Smith (Guitarist for MC5)
  • Bernhard Stroh, Sr. (Founder of Stroh Brewery Company)
  • David Stuart (U.S. Representative from Michigan, 1853-1855)
  • Samuel Luther Thompson (Baseball Hall of Famer)
  • Hiram Walker (Founder of Hiram Walker and Sons Distillery; the makers of Canadian Club)
  • Major General Alpheus Starkey Williams (Civil War Union Major General)
  • John R. Williams (First Mayor of Detroit under Second Charter, 1824-1825, 1830)
  • James Witherell (U.S. Representative from Vermont, 1807-1808)
  • William Woodbridge (Governor of Michigan, 1840-1841; U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1841-1847)
  • Dr. Charles Howard Wright (Medical doctor and social reformer)
  • Coleman Alexander Young (First African-American Mayor of Detroit, 1974-1993)

Elmwood Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Eastside Historic Cemetery District in 1982.

Click here to visit Elmwood Cemetery’s website.