Filed Under Suburbs

North Royalton Cemetery

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.

Audio

John Shepard's Grave Don Harris, Vice President of the North Royalton Historical Society, talks about the grave of Revolutionary War veteran John Shepard located in the North Royalton Cemetery.

Images

John Shepard's Headstone The gravesite of John Shepard, French & Indian War and Revolutionary War veteran who settled in Royalton Township at the age of 88 in 1816. Shepard actually led the first team of horses into the township. Shepard's grave is commemorated with a historical marker at the cemetery. Image courtesy of Matt Kish
Unknown Grave Look at (or run your hand across) the broken portion of this grave. How long has this stone been in disrepair? Why hasn't anyone fixed it? Image courtesy of Matt Kish
Vault Door When this vault was created in 1879, there was little heavy earthmoving equipment. The vault was built to store bodies temporarily during the winter before an easier spring burial (after the frozen ground had thawed) could be conducted. For many families, this was worth the 25-cent per week fee for storage. Image courtesy of Matt Kish
Inscription on Vault The inscription on the sandstone reads 1879, but the original sandstone was restored and supplemented in 1987. Feel the grit of the stone. Why was sandstone used for this vault? Image courtesy of Matt Kish
War Memorial This war memorial is prominently placed on a plaza near the sidewalk along Royalton Road in front of the cemetery. The "drive-by" nature of the monument is indicative of the evolution of North Royalton from farming village to modern suburb. Does the placement of the monument make it more accessible? Image courtesy of Matt Kish
Statue Atop Johnson Plot This statue sits atop the monument in the center of the Johnson family plot. What can we presume about the Johnson family based on this monument? Placed deep within the cemetery, how does this compare to the War Memorial Monument? Would this statue be appreciated fully by cars and pedestrians passing by on Royalton Road? Image courtesy of Matt Kish
Edgerton-Klunzinger Family Plot This modern, landcaped gravesite sits in the middle of the plot for the Edgerton and Klunzinger families. This is the final resting place of North Royalton's longest-serving mayor, Lester Edgerton. Under Edgerton's tenure (1930-1968), North Royalton evolved from a village into a city. Image courtesy of Matt Kish

Location

The cemetery is located on the north side of Royalton Rd approx 0.25 mile east of Ridge Rd and approx 0.25 mile west of State Rd.

Metadata

“North Royalton Cemetery,” Cleveland Historical, accessed January 23, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/285.