Our History

For over 175 years Woodland Cemetery has been a revered place of eternal rest. With over 110,000 souls entrusted to its care, it is the final resting place of many of Dayton’s most distinguished residents including the Wright brothers, Erma Bombeck, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Charles Kettering.

1841 brought about the establishment of the cemetery, located on the “out-skirts of Dayton”, to fulfill the need of an expanding city. As time has proceeded on, Woodland Cemetery has been a place of remembrance and refuge for Daytonians to depend upon. Woodland looks to the future with a continued focus on the preservation of the heritage and perpetuity. With a strong consideration of how the cemetery will adapt to the ever-changing needs of the community; so that Woodland can continue to provide availability into the next century, being ever-present in all new developments as well as reconstruction plans.

Woodland is Forever ~ this is our HISTORY

Significant historic dates for Woodland Cemetery and Dayton, Ohio:
1841 – Ohio Legislature commissions the “Woodland Cemetery Association of Dayton.”
1843 – Cemetery dedicated June 21st. July 9th first interment, Allen Cullum.
1844 – Construction of Sexton’s house, fencing and roadways.
1847 – Egyptian styled Receiving Vault constructed.
1887 – Construction completed of the Peter, Burns and Pretzinger Architects designed Gateway, Chapel and Administrative office in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.
1882 – Easter Sunday of this year allowed horse and carriages on the property.
1898 – The Chapel is enlarged to its present size and a basement was included to be used as a receiving vault.
1904 – Henry C. Lowe provided $10,000 in funding as a memorial to honor his daughter Marianna. Tiffany Studios of New York were hired to redesign the interior of the Chapel. Windows, flooring and frescos were all completed.
1908 – 35 acres were purchased from University of Dayton. The tunnel under Stewart Street constructed connecting the two sides.
1910 – Permitted automobiles on cemetery grounds, limited to hearses for cemetery purposes.
1912 – Wilber Wright interred at Woodland. Waldo Street entrance completed with a shelter house and iron gates.
1913 – March, fifty flood victims were interred.
1951 – City water becomes available to the cemetery, the pump house is closed and boarded up.
1961 – Property sales in the Southern District started.
1969 – Public Mausoleum was opened and included Dayton’s first crematory.
1979 – The 1887 Administrative Office, Chapel and Front Gates placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1980 – Lawn Crypts installed along with a 96 niche unit columbarium. The central statue, “Soaring Spirit,” created by Dayton sculptor Robert Koepnick was placed on top.
1984 – First computer purchased for cemetery recording.

1991 – Woodland celebrates 150th anniversary. During this year a $1.2 million building and renovation project is completed. The Woodland Arboretum Foundation is established.
2000 – Renovations completed to the Mausoleum, including an additional annex, the Victorian Room with Fountain and the Bronze wall.
2001 – Woodland establishes website presence.
2004 – Development of “Pine Ridge” area within the Historic District of the cemetery.
2009 – Woodland places its historic records at Wright State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives for cataloging and preservation.
2010 – The Lookout Columbarium Plaza with a 1800’s replica tower is dedicated.
2011 – Lookout Terrace is established. 105 acres, comprised of the 1912 acre boarders, is approved by the Department of the Interior as a ‘Historic District’ on the National Register of Historic Places. 60 new hardwood trees are planted to repopulate the Arboretum.
2016 – 175th Anniversary. Capital fund raising begins for the restoration of the 1887 building and gateway. Discovery of fountain at the pond, and installation of Fountain Garden cremation burial area. Recycling area established for production of top soil and mulch for cemetery use.
2017 – Achieve Level II Arboretum Status. Redesign of “Sanctuary” area located in section 309 with completion of layout, landscaping and walkway.
2018 – Completion of the Family Services Center addition to administrative building. GPS mapping of all burials completed.
2019 – Odd Fellows area created to offer burial options within the cemetery’s Historic District. Restoration and preservation of The Historic Chapel begins.