by Dave Daly
I find graveyards fascinating, especially old ones. Is that macabre? I don’t think so. I’ve got a healthy respect for the dead and treat the grounds where they lay with reverence as I wander through them. It’s also October, and Halloween’s coming up — so, yeah, maybe I am feeling a little morbid.
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to visiting burial grounds in Northeast Ohio. People have been dying here for a long time. One of the easiest for Akronites to access is Glendale Cemetery.
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Neighboring downtown, Glendale Cemetery is a hilly, forested 85-acre necropolis that was established in 1839. Mausoleums, graves and statues pepper the grounds. Mature trees with wide canopies make for shade and dappled sunlight on warm, sunny days and gorgeous tree silhouettes jutting into the sky during the colder winter months.
On the crisp fall morning of my visit, it was raining lightly. I don’t think you could ask for better weather for exploring a cemetery. The overcast skies and moist conditions add to the solitude and reflection I seek on this stroll. Cold weather has not arrived in full force yet, so the trees are still hanging on to most of their leaves. They have begun changing color, though, so the maples, oaks and other deciduous hardwoods are flecked with orange, red and yellow.
I begin my journey through Glendale Cemetery right by the main entrance, and I am immediately struck by a beautiful chapel. In 1876, the Buckley Post of the Grand Army of the Republic built this chapel to honor Akronites who served in the Civil War. Nowadays, you can rent this gorgeous structure for weddings, parties and more. Go ahead and plan a party, dear reader. Just make sure to invite me.
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As I make my way up Tower Hill, I notice just how beautiful and detailed the mausoleums are. Many have been designed to look Egyptian, Greek, Roman or Gothic. All are out of my price range. (When I die, I just want to decompose in the woods. Let the critters have me.)
I love how non-linear this place is. It’s organized, yes, so visitors can find their deceased relatives. However, the layout is one of curvy paths winding up and down rolling hills. The forested nooks and crannies throughout give certain spaces a room-like quality. This allows for a sense of privacy, as well as the excitement of discovery, since you’re not sure what might be around the corner.
As I come to a fork in the road, I have to choose to go uphill or downhill, left or right. I opt for the left turn and, after coming around a bend, spot what appears to be a dead tree. I decide to get closer to examine some lichen growing on it. It turns out to be a gravestone, and an old one at that. The only numbers I can make date this faux flora to 1897.
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They don’t make them like they used to. That goes for cemeteries too. That said, there’s still plenty of space for future interment in Glendale. In the meantime, while you’re still living, take a walk through it. You won’t be disappointed.
Open daily to the public from 8:30 am to 5 pm
150 Glendale Ave, Akron 44302
For more info on the market check out glendaleakron.com
After growing up outside Boston, Massachusetts Dave Daly traipsed around the country for a number of years before settling in Akron with his family and joining The Devil Strip team.