CALVARY CEMETERY, which straddles the Cleveland-GARFIELD HTS. border, was established in the 1890s due to the growing need for a new and extensive burial ground for Catholics in the Cleveland area. For many years it was the largest Catholic cemetery in Ohio. The original purchase, of approx. 105 acres, was in Oct. 1893, and included the Leland farm as well as the Turner and McConnell allotment. Work began immediately on laying out the cemetery. Mr. F. Rurich, a civil and topographical engineer, then superintendent of Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo, plotted the land. Three sections for single graves and a receiving vault were opened. An unblessed section was also set aside "for burials among mixed-marriage" groups. The cemetery was dedicated on 26 Nov. 1893.
The first plot sold was to Vaclva Ausperk, for $96. The first burials in the cemetery were those of a husband and wife, John and Catherine Hogan, who died on the same day and were buried on 1 Dec. 1893. The largest number of interments occurred in Nov. 1918, during a flu epidemic. In that month there were 985 burials, with a peak of 81 in one day, on 4 Nov. By the early 1990s, the average number of burials was 1300 a year (about five a day). A central administration building for all Catholic cemeteries in the Cleveland diocese was constructed in 1986 just inside the entrance to Calvary Cemetery. Additional parcels of land were acquired over time. As of Sept. 1994, Calvary Cemetery covered 302 acres, and there had been 290,665 burials. Prominent Clevelanders buried in the cemetery include FRANK LAUSCHE, STELLA WALSH, and GENE CARROLL.