Monroe Street Cemetery

Monroe Street Cemetery is 13.63 acres in area and was designated a Historic Landmark by the City of Cleveland Landmarks Commission in 1973.The number of burials exceeds 31,400 persons. It is believed that burials on the property began as early as 1818 and a headstone dated 1827 can still be seen. There are more than 500 persons in the cemetery who served in the armed forces and saw duty during the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and both World Wars in addition to those who served their country during times of peace. Ethnic heritages from England, Ireland, Belgium, and Germany are predominant but Hungarian, Dutch, Scottish and other backgrounds are found throughout the cemetery. The cemetery contains several persons who were actively involved in abolitionist activities before and during the Civil War, including Rev. James A. Thome and Alfred Greenbrier. Two mayors of Cleveland are buried here - William Bainbridge Castle who served as the last mayor of Ohio City and the first mayor of the combined cities after annexation and Irvine U. Masters who, as president of City Council in 1861, personally welcomed Abraham Lincoln to Cleveland as Lincoln made his way to his inauguration - as well as four mayors of Ohio City - Richard Lord, Needham Standart, John Beverlin and David Griffith. The first Cleveland policeman to be killed in the line of duty, John Michael Kick, is buried here.

Ohio City was originally part of Brooklyn Township, which was founded in 1818 by Richard Lord and his brother-in-law Josiah Barber. Lord's father, Samuel, was an investor in the Connecticut Land Company and his portion of the "Western Reserve" included the area that is today called Ohio City. Historic borders of the city were: Lake Erie on the north; the Cuyahoga River on the east; Walworth Run (Train Avenue) on the south; and Harbor Street (W. 44th St.) on the west. On March 3, 1836, the City of Ohio became an independent, incorporated municipality two days before Cleveland. It remained so until June 5, 1854, when it was annexed to Cleveland. The two cities became fierce competitors, especially in the area of commerce.

Brooklyn Township acquired its cemetery when Barber and Lord sold a six-acre parcel in January 1836 for $160 (Approximately $3,900 today), to be used "forever as a public burying ground." When Ohio City was incorporated the township cemetery became the city cemetery. The Ohio City council established rules and regulations. It also appointed a sexton, and arranged for systematic platting, as well as for the purchase and storage of a hearse. After annexation, the cemetery became simply known as "the west side cemetery" and, later, the Monroe Street Cemetery. Under Cleveland's charge, the cemetery was ornamented with walks and plantings, protected by a patrolman, and fenced to keep out wandering hogs. Until the late 1890s, it was Cleveland's only west side public cemetery.

Images

Gatehouse, 1900 This photo of the entrance archway and gatehouse taken ca. 1900 shows the structures before time, wind and weather took their toll. The building just visible at the right side of the picture was a catholic orphanage that later moved to Parma and known today as Parmadale Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Division of Special Collections. Cleveland Press Collection
Cemetery Entrance Archway Joseph Ireland came to Cleveland after the Civil War in 1865 and very rapidly became a renowned architect. His clients included many of the wealthiest citizens. Ireland designed some of the mansions along "Millionaire's Row" and a variety of commercial and institutional buildings. He was commissioned by the City of Cleveland to design the entrance archway at the Erie Street Cemetery. That design was used at Monroe Street Cemetery also and the entrance archway was completed in 1874. It is done in a Gothic Revival Style and is constructed of sandstone. By the time the archway was built the cemetery was known as Monroe Street Cemetery. The cemetery name is visible along the sides of the steep central arch. Image Courtesy of Alan Fodor.
Gatehouse, 2008 The gatehouse was designed by Cleveland architect Walter Blythe. It is one of very few remaining examples of Blythe's work in Cleveland. Designed in a Gothic Revival architectural style, its construction was completed in 1876. The building served to hold the cemetery records in a small office on the south end of the building while the much larger room on the north end was used for funerals and making burial arrangements. The building was constructed by J.D. Copperfield for the sum of $4,768.25. Materials used in the construction include sandstone, decorative sheet metal panels and slate roofing shingles. A belltower, ornamental chimney, and embellishments along the ridgeline of the roof were later damaged and removed. Image Courtesy of Alan Fodor.
John Michael Kick Final The City of Cleveland organized the first city police department in 1865 following the Civil War. Upon returning from action in the Union army, John Michael Kick became a patrol officer in the fledgling department. In May of 1875 a group of thieves had come to Cleveland and were staying above a tavern near the corner of Pearl and Monroe Streets. Kick and another officer were assigned to follow the thieves when they left their hideout. The plain-clothes officers were to be followed by a larger group of policemen. Due to a mix up in communications Kick and his partner became separated from the other policemen. During pursuit of the thieves a shot was fired that struck Kick in the chest. He died two days later becoming the first Cleveland policeman to be killed in the line of duty. Image Courtesy of Cleveland Police Historical Society.
Lord Tomb This small stone structure barely 5' wide and 7' long bears the inscription "Rich'd Lord" above the doorway. Why his name is shortened is not known but here rests for eternity Richard and Anna Lord. This little building is an entrance way to an underground crypt, the size of which is not known but was once described as containing 3 caskets. The Lords had no children so who the third casket contains is not known. It may possibly be Richard's brother Samuel who came to Brooklyn Township in 1818 with Richard and their brother-in-law Josiah Barber. Lord & Barber founded Brooklyn Township as well as being instrumental in the founding of Ohio City. Image Courtesy of Alan Fodor.
Mayor William Castle William Bainbridge Castle, 1814-1872, was an Ohio City businessman whose interests included hardware and lumber. The Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Company was one of Ohio City's earliest industrial concerns. Castle joined the company in 1843 and remained with it until his death. In 1853-1854 Castle was mayor of Ohio City and was instrumental in the annexation of Ohio City into the City of Cleveland. So Castle was the last mayor of Ohio City and the first mayor of the unified cities. Castle's gravesite at Monroe Street Cemetery includes a tall granite obelisk surrounded by stone edging. All of the bodies in the Castle gravesite were later exhumed and removed to Lakeview Cemetery but the monument and stone edging were left undisturbed. Image Courtesy of Cleveland Past and Present by Maurice Joblin.
Rev. James A. Thome Reverend James A. Thome, 1813-1873, was born of a slave-owning father in Kentucky. He came to Cincinnati in 1832 to attend theology school at Lane Seminary. There he was taught the evils of slavery. Under duress Thome and his fellow anti-slavery proponents left Cincinnati and moved to Oberlin College. There he completed his education and taught for ten years before becoming the minister at the First Congregational Church of Ohio City. Thome was an outspoken abolitionist throughout his life. His abilities at oration were considerable and he was in great demand as a speaker. Image Courtesy of Western Reserve Historical Society.

Location

3302 Hancock Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113

Metadata

Alan Fodor, “Monroe Street Cemetery,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 25, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/476.