History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
On August 2nd, 1848, a group of local leaders met to form the Green Lawn Cemetery Association. Through the spring of 1849 a charter was granted, 84 acres were acquired from local ranchers, and landscape gardener Howard Daniels was hired to plan the cemetery.
The intent of this effort was to replace earlier cemeteries in the city which had become landlocked, where near the river, and were nearing capacity. Influenced by the Romantic Era in the arts and contemporary poetry, attitudes towards death were changing and cemetery design was moving away from the older graveyards, churchyards, and potters' fields towards more natural and serene settings. This was the Rural Cemetery Movement.
Howard Daniels was a purist of this concept, envisioning winding roads and paths following natural contours through dense native trees and shrubbery. Along the paths openings would dramatically reveal family lots with monumental art or a view of a pond or from a natural prominence.
With the city in the grips of a cholera outbreak, our first burial was young Leonora Perry interred on July 7th, 1849 (Leonora was later moved to a family lot in Cincinnati). It wasn't until July 9th that a grand opening was held, and by July 11th our second interment, Dr. Benjamin Gard who contracted cholera while responding to the outbreak at the penitentiary, occurred. Soon prominent families started moving their deceased from the older cemeteries to Green Lawn, and likewise the former city cemeteries were evacuated and redeveloped.
In 1898 a cast iron bridge was installed in The Ravine, and in 1902 the Huntington Chapel was dedicated. The chapel was designed by Columbus architect Frank Packard and its Tiffany decor was sponsored by board president P. W. Huntington. The chapel was expanded as a mausoleum/crematorium in two phases during the 1960's and 1970's.
Over time Green Lawn would grow to its current 360 acres with over 154,000 interments, making it Ohio's second largest cemetery. The grounds continue to feature a pre-European settlement mixed oak forest, many historic and artistic mausoleums and monuments, and it remains one of Columbus' most important cemeteries. Green Lawn provides the final resting place of founding families, several U.S. presidential families, 5 governors, 5 Medal of Honor recipients, artists, actors, and all other walks of life. Over 6,000 veterans fill seven military sections and other sections represent Jewish, Greek, Black, and other communities or various religious, fraternal, governmental, or charitable organizations.
The cemetery is a registered arboretum, and in 1999 was designated an Ohio Audubon Important Bird Area.
Today the Green Lawn Cemetery Association is a 501(c)13 non-profit volunteer board of directors. Our mission is to preserve, restore, and share Green Lawn Cemetery with the community. We also ensure that the cemetery is operated in a fiscally responsible manner and in accordance with industry standards. Our families are here and we are committed in our responsibilities to "Our Very Special Park".
Friends of Green Lawn cemetery foundation
The Friends are a volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the preservation, beautification, and community benefit of the cemetery. Friends accomplishes their mission through an annual fundraising campaign and donations which may be used to sponsor specific restoration or beautification projects or to augment the Endowment Care Fund which provides for the long term care of the grounds. They also sponsor our quarterly newsletter and publications to tell the history of Green Lawn and its families.