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SOLDIER PLOTS

SOLDIER PLOTS. Soldier plots containing burials of groups of American military veterans have been established within the City of Cleveland and the following cemeteries, public and private: Harvard Grove, MONROE ST., WOODLAND, Highland Park, West Park, and CALVARY.

The smallest soldier plot contains 7 graves in Harvard Grove Cemetery. Five veterans of the American Revolutionary War who died between 1813 and 1855 lie buried in a row under like, upright headstones, along with 2 CIVIL WAR veterans. During the Civil War, space was provided in Section F at Monroe St. Cemetery for soldiers who died, mostly from illness or disease, at the U.S. GENERAL HOSPITAL AT CLEVELAND, on Univ. Hts. (now east TREMONT neighborhood). Although there is a small plot of 12 Civil War veterans with upright military headstones in Section E, all of the Section F soldier burials were removed for private burial elsewhere or for reinterment at Woodland Cemetery in either of 2 U.S. government plots.

At Woodland, the U.S. War Dept. purchased two plots from the City of Cleveland--Section 14, Lot 48 on 24 Jan. 1863, and Section 10, Lots 59 and 60, on 25 Sept. 1868, for soldier burials. These sections contain a total of 43 graves. Section 10 received those U.S. General Hospital dead from Monroe St. Cemetery. During the postwar years, the veterans' organization GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC sponsored the establishment of two plots. Thus, between 1889 and 1916, 254 Civil War veterans were buried in Section 72 (est. 1889; three-quarter acre) and 26 in the smaller plot in Section 21, Lot 45 (est. 1909).

In the late 19th century, veterans of America's foreign wars qualified for burial in veterans' plots. Thus, Highland Park Cemetery commissioners opened Section 3 in 1905 for that purpose. In 1937 Cuyahoga County purchased Section 3 and added on to it through the years, so that by 1980 it had grown to 8 lots (25 acres) and by 1994 held graves of 13,819 veterans from the Civil War (60) through the VIETNAM WAR. Realizing that additional veterans' plots were needed by west-siders who would find a trip to Highland Park Cemetery inconvenient in the days before interstate highways, Cuyahoga County Commissioners purchased Section 29 at West Park Cemetery in 1952. Presently, Section 29 contains 3,674 burials within its 5-acre boundaries of veterans of World War I through the Vietnam War.

Following the lead of public cemeteries, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland set aside Section 60 and 110 at Calvary Cemetery in the Catholic Cemeteries Assn. for veterans' burials in 1938. The first burial took place in 1944. After World War II (1945), repatriated soldiers' remains were buried free of charge. Veterans who returned to civilian life were and are charged for burial. Spouses could and can be buried with the veteran. As of 1994, Section 60 contained 416 graves and Section 110 471, with only a few unused spaces available.

All honorably discharged Cleveland veterans qualify for burial in the veterans' sections of the city's public or private cemeteries, provided that space is available. Cuyahoga County Commissioners have the authority to purchase additional veterans' section acreage at both Highland Park and at West Park cemeteries, where, however, only a cremated spouse can be buried with a veteran. Families of veterans can obtain assistance in acquiring a grave and in applying for a flat marble military headstone from the Veterans Administration through the Veterans Service Commission, County of Cuyahoga. Cleveland veterans also qualify for burial in the 244-acre Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, (est. 2000) in Rittman, Ohio in Medina County.

William C. Stark