Spring Grove Cemetery

Trees, flowers and miles of winding pathways surround mausoleums in this cemetery north of downtown.

Spring Grove Cemetery is home to gravesites of many notable local citizens, including Civil War generals. The architecture, gardens and arboretum make it more than just a burial site. The chapels, mausoleums, sculptures, lakes, trees and flowerbeds are a picturesque setting. It’s a beautiful place to walk, bike ride or picnic.

Spring Grove Cemetery opened in 1845. Only a handful of American cemeteries are listed as a National Historic Monument and this one of them. With 44 miles (70 kilometers) of paved roads winding through 733 acres (296 hectares), it’s one of the largest nonprofit cemeteries in the country. The weaving pathways follow the natural shapes of the land.

There are 41 Civil War generals interred throughout Spring Grove. Confederate and Union soldiers, plus 28 unknown soldiers, occupy 999 graves in three rows.

It’s free to pick up a map from the main entrance and take a self-guided tour. Or, pay for a bus or tram tour and listen to rags-to-riches stories of the successful Cincinnati businessmen buried here. Another tour explores the best of the horticulture. Ride past state champion trees, including the water oak and limber pine, and the non-native Himalayan pine and hardy rubber trees.

In spring the trees blossom and tulips bloom. Walking trails wind past historically or architecturally significant graves. The 1869 Dexter Mausoleum is often mistaken for a chapel due to its grand design. It’s actually a private grave for the “whiskey baron” Dexter and his family.

Several events run throughout the year including the free Summer Sounds concert in July. Take a Moonlight Tour to see owls and other nocturnal creatures that nest in the cemetery. Check the Spring Grove website for details about what’s on.

The Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum is located 20 minutes’ drive north of downtown Cincinnati. Driving is the easiest way to reach the cemetery. It’s open daily and entry is free, as is the on-site parking. The paid public tours are run from April to October, but cars and bikes are free to drive through the park year-round.

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