At sunrise in the North Royalton Cemetery, a visitor may sense a feeling of isolation. One of Greater Cleveland's busiest roads runs by, but it is near silent at this time of day. Familiar names appear -- township founders for whom streets are named -- alongside families long forgotten. Rough, chalky marble headstones from almost two centuries ago are strewn among modern monuments of smooth, polished granite. Modest graves stand next to statuaries and obelisks. Revolutionary War veterans commemorated with historical markers are buried next to shopkeepers and dairy farmers. Drive by the cemetery at midday on Route 82, and you may never feel a thing. Stand in the center of it on a quiet dawn, however, and you will know that you are in a sacred place.
Founded in 1866 as the Royalton Road Cemetery, graves were moved to this cemetery over the years from other sites in Royalton Township, including the Village Green. In 1879, it was designated as one of Cuyahoga County's most picturesque cemeteries, thanks to the work of the ladies of the Cemetery Association who maintained it. In 1927, the city took over maintenance of the cemetery, a task it still performs today.