Lakewood Cemetery

Lakewood Cemetery is a large private, non-sectarian cemetery located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. It is located at 3600 Hennepin Avenue at the southern end of the Uptown area. It is noted for its chapel which is on the National Register of Historic Places and was modeled after the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.[2]

Lakewood Cemetery Memorial Chapel
Lakewood Cemetery Memorial Chapel.jpg
The Byzantine-styled chapel at Lakewood Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Lakewood Cemetery is located in Minnesota
Lakewood Cemetery
Location in Minnesota
Lakewood Cemetery is located in the United States
Lakewood Cemetery
Location in United States
Location3600 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Coordinates44°56′11″N 93°17′56″W / 44.93639°N 93.29889°W / 44.93639; -93.29889Coordinates: 44°56′11″N 93°17′56″W / 44.93639°N 93.29889°W / 44.93639; -93.29889
Area250 acres
ArchitectHarry Wild Jones
Architectural styleByzantine Revival
NRHP reference No.83003657[1]
Added to NRHPOctober 20, 1983


About 250 acres in size, Lakewood memorializes the dead with more than 200,000 monuments, markers and memorializations.[3]: 56  Long considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country, it was modeled after the rural cemeteries of 19th-century France, such as Père-Lachaise in Paris. When Lakewood was established in 1871 rural cemeteries were becoming more popular as part of a growing trend away from churchyard burials in the heart of the city.

Stained glass window in one of the Mausoleum rooms; Tiny Tim's tomb can be seen at left

In July 1871 Colonel William S. King, local businessman and newspaper publisher, proposed to community leaders of the city that they work together to establish a cemetery "on some of the beautiful locations out near the lakes, where the encroachments of the city would never seriously interfere." In August of the same year a meeting was held for establishing the Lyndale Cemetery Association (Changed to Lakewood in Feb of 1872).[4]: 951  According to the minutes of the original meeting recorded by Thomas Lowry, "that after an examination of various localities they had chosen the land owned by William S. King lying between Lakes Calhoun and Harriet." Colonel King agreed to sell his land for the purpose at a cost of $21,000, "to be paid back over a year at 7 percent interest."[5] The first trustees voted to raise $25,000 to purchase the land and make improvements at a time when the cost of a home in Minneapolis was about $500. The money was raised by selling 250 shares of stock at $100 a piece, two-thirds of which was purchased by the trustees themselves. The remaining balance was solicited by a committee and sold to other local investors. In April 1872 Superintendent A.B. Barton and the board of trustees employed C. W. Folsom, Superintendent of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts to develop plans for the new cemetery.[3]: 25  In October 1872 the Association reacquired all stocks that had been sold to the public.[5]

The public dedication of Lakewood was held on September 16, 1872, with "a large number of lots being selected at the close of the exercise by the citizens present."[4]: 952  Many of the earliest lots sold in the 1870s-1880s remained unused until 1972 when they were reclaimed for resale to the public.[3]: 131  The first person buried in Lakewood Cemetery was Maggie Menzel who died on January 24, 1872, at the age of nineteen.[4]: 649–650 [6]

Interior of the Memorial Chapel dome

Architect Harry Wild Jones designed the cemetery's chapel which began construction in August 1908. Built of the finest materials, the chapel seats about 200 and is renowned for its beauty and superb acoustics. The dome is 65 feet high with 24 stained glass windows inset its full circumference. Charles R. Lamb of New York orchestrated the design of the chapel's interior mosaic artwork. Six highly skilled artists of Italy were enlisted to create 10 million tessellae in Venice, which were then shipped to Lakewood, where those same artists performed the arduous task of assembling them in the chapel's interior. Completed in 1910, the chapel's total cost of construction was $150,000. Lakewood Chapel was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 20, 1983.[3]: 103–110 

Cremation services were begun in 1910 and have continued to the present day.[7][3]: 17  In 1965-67 a community mausoleum and columbarium was built with enough space for over 5000 crypts and niches. One of the building's more notable features are the 24 eight-foot stained glass windows by Willet Stained Glass Studios of Philadelphia. A large reflecting pool just outside the mausoleum's east side extends toward the garden crypt area and Lakewood's historic chapel nearby.[3]: 112 [8]

The Garden Mausoleum

In 2012, a new Garden Mausoleum, designed by HGA Architects of Minneapolis, was opened alongside the reflecting pool, adding a further 879 crypts and 4,620 cremation niches.[9][10]

Since its inception in 1872 Lakewood has continued to operate as a non-profit, non-denominational cemetery providing funeral services to the public.[11][4]: 951  Many Minneapolis streets, parks, and monuments bear the names of the Lakewood's original founders — Thomas Lowry, William D. Washburn, and Charles M. Loring, to name a few. The cemetery itself memorializes many notable persons, including former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, Civil War General Lewis A. Grant, and Senator Paul Wellstone who was killed in a plane crash in 2002.

McMullen monument by sculptor Nellie Walker
Fridley Monument

Notable burialsEdit

Monument for the family of T. B. Walker

Photo gallery of notablesEdit

Other imagesEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System – (#83003657)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "The Lakewood Memorial Chapel". Lakewood Cemetery. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Haven in the Heart of the City, The History of Lakewood Cemetery. Lakewood Cemetery. 1992. ISBN 0-9635227-0-1.
  4. ^ a b c d Atwater, Isaac (1893). "History of the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Vol II". Google books. Munsell and Company. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  5. ^ a b Lakewood Cemetery. "Lakewood's History". Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  6. ^ The Minneapolis Journal, June 19, 1906. "Gregor Menzel, Pioneer, is Dead (2nd par.)" (PDF). Library of Congress. Retrieved 30 October 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "Lakewood Cemetery's crematory". Lakewood Cemetery. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Lakewood's Memorial Mausoleum". Lakewood Cemetery. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  9. ^ "Lakewood Mausoleum, designed by HGA". Architect magazine. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "Lakewood Cemetery's Garden Mausoleum: Toward the light". Star Tribune. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Lakewood's History". Lakewood Cemetery. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "The Secrets Inside Minneapolis's Most Glamorous Graveyard". 14 May 2018.
  13. ^ "DR. B. ROBERT LEWIS – St Louis Park Historical Society".
  14. ^ "John H. "Hugh" MacMillan III". Legacy. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  15. ^ Veblen, Andrew A. (1920). The Valdris book; a manual of the Valdris samband. pp. 76–77. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  16. ^ Millett, Larry (2009). AIA Guide to the Minneapolis Lake District. Minnesota Historical Society Press. p. 76. ISBN 9780873516457.
  17. ^ Metzger, Michael (July 25, 2005). "The Dead Zone". Southwest Journal. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  18. ^ "Mr. John Pillsbury Snyder". Encyclopedia Titanica.
  19. ^ "Mrs Nelle Snyder". Encyclopedia Titanica.

External linksEdit