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WOODLAND CEMETERY

WOODLAND CEMETERY was once the pride of Cleveland's public CEMETERIES. From its start in 1853, Woodland differed from other cemeteries that were functionally laid out. Woodland was fashioned in rural cemetery style by New York landscape gardener Howard Daniels. A fancifully poetic description of an unseen Cleveland by Scottish poet Thos. Campbell inspired the name. Woodland's creation derived from a failed real estate speculation. In 1832 Col. Geo. Bomford of Washington, DC, acquired 200 acres in Newburgh Twp. He sold 100 acres to John Whipple, Providence, RI, and 60 acres to Benjamin F. Butler, Pres. Andrew Jackson's attorney general. The trio divided the land into 40 5-acre lots just before the Panic of 1837. By 1851 the land remained unsold. SAMUEL STARKWEATHER, the local agent, sold Butler's share for the long-sought second city cemetery. Former Ohioan Daniels provided a 20-acre plan, "as beautifully prepared for a burial place as fancy and taste could desire." Dedicated on 14 June 1853, Woodland became a popular place for legal and illicit activities. During and after the Civil War, streetcars ran regularly, with extras on Decoration Day. Ohio's last Civil War governor, JOHN BROUGH, whose grave the city donated, joined other fallen warriors, including the only known Confederate soldier buried in Cleveland, in 1865. Woodland was also known to prostitutes, whose presence disconcerted virtuous ladies, and to medical students seeking cadavers. The cemetery for prominent Clevelanders, Woodland was often improved with seasonal plantings, as well as a fountain, a gateway, and a chapel. In the early 20th century, its choice lots sold and Highland Park cemetery being promoted, Woodland declined. In 1953 the council debated, then rejected, converting the site to public housing.