RIVERSIDE CEMETERY, a private association organized in Nov. 1875, fulfilled a need for cemeteries on the west side. Until the late 1890s, the MONROE ST. CEMETERY was the only Cleveland municipal cemetery there. The Riverside Cemetery Assn. purchased Brainard Farm's 102.5 acres, landscape architect E. O. Schwaegerl prepared a plan, and ground was broken in Apr. 1876. The area was ready for the 11 Nov. 1876 centennial memorial service featuring president-elect Rutherford B. Hayes, during which eminent persons ceremonially planted trees along the main drive.
Riverside contained over 5 mi. of roads, and 6 acres of lakes spanned by rustic wooden bridges. Only 3 mi. from PUBLIC SQUARE, it was easily accessible by public or private transit. Each year the superintendent reported that more visitors were attracted to the shady drives and fine views of the Cuyahoga Valley from bluffs reputed to be the burial site for Chief BLACK HAWK's mother.
Riverside was the cemetery for the west side aristocracy, including the Brainards, the Lamsons, the Sessionses, and the Rhodeses (historian JAS. FORD RHODES was buried in the family plot). Its devoted support from the community assured its solvency. By 1902 however, the trustees reminded themselves that Riverside was not indifferent to the humble. "It is and ever must be distinctively a cemetery of the masses." In this century, Riverside's acreage has been trimmed by expressways, and its lakes have been drained.
Historical Review of Riverside Cemetery Association (1889).