Historic Cemetery Turns 150 This Month

By Eric Olson

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 4, 2010 at 12:04 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--Of all the many historic spots in Fort Wayne only one encompasses this city’s entire story, playing host to all Fort Wayne’s founding fathers. Lindenwood Cemetery turns 150 years old this month, and when it was built in 1860 Americans were formulating a new philosophy of death and burial, a philosophy that gave rise to what’s called the American Rural Cemetery Movement.

“The new concept of a cemetery was large, expansive beautifully architect and landscaped,” says Lindenwood manager Tom Pehlke. “It was a park-like setting.”

Lindenwood was built at a time when most of Fort Wayne’s small city cemeteries were full, like the old Broadway Cemetery, now known as McCulloch Park. When Lindenwood opened hundreds of graves were transferred from smaller resting places to the new cemetery. And though it is a repository for the dead Lindenwood was built for the living, to visit, stroll through…surrounded by numerous artifical ponds and lakes, walking paths and quiet spots.

“People came out here on weekends,” says Pehlke, “they would family outings, picnics were just a regular occurrence.”

And over the past 150 years Lindenwood has collected just about anyone who was anyone in Fort Wayne, names that are familiar to us today, Swinney, Rudisell, Bass, Rockhill. Ranold McDonald, one of the founders of GE, he’s here. So is Art Smith, pioneer aviator, killed in a plane crash in Ohio. And artwork, beautiful almost beyond description, inspiring the eye and the soul, easing some of the sorrow this magical place has witnessed Eric Olson reporting out in ‘Your Country’.



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