In the late 1950s, the Shaker Historical Society undertook the daunting task of creating a memorial marker to tell the story of a small unmarked burial ground commonly referred to as the "Lee Road Cemetery" or the "Old Manx Cemetery." This graveyard, located at 3451 Lee Road, was the second oldest burial ground in Cuyahoga County, and the oldest designated landmark in Shaker Heights. Records for the cemetery, however, had long been lost, and only a few burials had taken place in the previous half-century. The Shaker Historical Society would need to interpret a story for the space through a study of grave inscriptions, newspaper articles, county histories, maps, and accounts provided by descendants of those buried. The narrative of the recovered history was framed to tell the tale of Shaker Height's common heritage and be a celebration of the region's pioneer past.
The memorial marker was to inscribe new meaning into the public burial grounds. The Shaker Historical Society intended to transform the unmarked and deserted graveyard into a shrine, and a space where residents of Shaker Heights could pay tribute to the region's founders. Concise and inclusive, trustees of the historical society decided on what they hoped would be a perfect tribute:
"First Burial 1811
Final Resting Place Of
Veterans Of Five Wars
North Union Shakers"
Dedicated on Memorial Day, 1959, the plaque captured the stories of patriotic veterans, brave pioneers, industrious immigrants and pious Shakers. Its placement among the weathered gravestones offered a point of departure for discovering and memorializing the colorful, unique history of both Warrensville Township and Shaker Heights.