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Mapping 10 of Detroit's Most Beautiful Historic Cemeteries

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[Images via thenighttraindetroit on Flickr]

Looking to spend the day outdoors in Detroit? Fact is, some of our cemeteries are better maintained than the local parks. And of course, finding the final resting places famous people is a pretty great scavenger hunt for fans of Detroit history. Local writer and blogger Amy of The Night Train Detroit, recently pledged to see every cemetery in Detroit and so far has a list of over 20. We've selected 10 of the best but check back to The Night Train blog for more photos and history lessons as she forges ahead to document them all.
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1. Elmwood Cemetery

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1200 Elmwood St
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 567-8861

Elmwood is the essential Detroit cemetery. Founded in 1846, it's the oldest continuously-operating non-denominational cemetery in the state of Michigan. Frederick Law Olmsted redesigned the grounds in 1890. Notable interments include Coleman Young, Lewis Cass, Zachariah Chandler, Russell Alger, Charles Wright, Fred "Sonic" Smith, John R. Williams, Joseph Campau, Bernhard Stroh, and tons more.

2. Mt Elliott Cemetery

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1701 Mount Elliott St
Detroit, MI 48207
(586) 567-0048
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Founded 1841, this is Michigan's oldest Catholic cemetery and the final resting place of many of the city's founding families (Beaubiens and Berthelets, Chenes and Chevrolets, Morans and Morosses) as well as the Palms family (the dynasty that brought you the Palms building, Palms Apartments, and more) and Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh.

3. Woodlawn Cemetery

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19975 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48203
(313) 841-0188
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Rosa Parks is interred here at the Rosa Parks Freedom Chapel. Lots of Motown greats here, too, including David Ruffin (the Temps), James Jamerson (Funk Bros. bassist), and Levi Stubbs (the Tops). Notable for its collection of private mausoleums, including those of Hazen Pingree, James Couzens, and the Dodge brothers (two studly sphinxes grace their tomb). The Hecker Mausoleum is even is Stanford White-designed. Cemetery founded in 1895.

4. Woodmere Cemetery

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9400 W Fort St
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 841-0188
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Bring wheels (car or bike) to visit with James Vernor (soda baron), John Judson Bagley, David Whitney, D.M. Ferry, James Scripps (in an oustanding chapel-like private mausoleum), Hamilton Carhartt, David Buick, tobacco magnate Daniel Scotten, and the four young victims of the 1932 Ford Hunger March. The chapel dates to 1914 and includes a columbarium containing the urns of some of the most important advocates of the crematory movement in the U.S., including Dr. Hugo Erichsen. Cemetery dates to 1867.

5. Betholem Cemetary

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This Jewish cemetery inside the GM Poletown plant is only open twice a year (the Sunday before Passover and the Sunday before Rosh Hashanah).

6. Assumption Grotto

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Gratiot Avenue & East 7 Mile Road
Detroit, MI 48205

Behind Assumption Grotto Church (a 1929 neo-Gothic stunner) is a tiny cemetery with a hidden gem, the grotto for which the church is named, constructed in 1881. People used to come from all over the country seeking miracle cures.

7. German Lutheran/Trinity Cemetery

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5210 Mount Elliott Street
Detroit, MI 48211

Notable for its many German interments (that's why people call it German Lutheran) and for its commanding, ironic views of the crumbling Packard Plant.

8. Mt. Hazel Cemetary

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18460 Lahser Rd
Detroit, MI 48219

It's tiny, and old, and blues singer Son House is buried here.

9. Forest Lawn Cemetery

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The city owns and operates this cemetery, as well as Gethsemane and B'Nai David. If you go, look for Wellington R. Burt's tomb (pictured).

10. Grand Lawn Cemetery

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23501 Grand River Ave
Detroit, MI 48219
(313) 531-2050

Just like the name, it is grand and lawn-like. In 1908, the city elders were sure they had FINALLY located their rural cemetery farther away than the city limits would ever reach, but of course they were wrong (again). It's quite beautiful and there's an intriguing modernist mausoleum. Notable interments include Clarence Burton of the Burton Historical Collection and Jim Scott, general rogue and namesake of the fountain on Belle Isle. The River Rouge runs through the middle of the cemetery and there's a pretty willow-edged bridge over it.

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1. Elmwood Cemetery

1200 Elmwood St, Detroit, MI 48207

Elmwood is the essential Detroit cemetery. Founded in 1846, it's the oldest continuously-operating non-denominational cemetery in the state of Michigan. Frederick Law Olmsted redesigned the grounds in 1890. Notable interments include Coleman Young, Lewis Cass, Zachariah Chandler, Russell Alger, Charles Wright, Fred "Sonic" Smith, John R. Williams, Joseph Campau, Bernhard Stroh, and tons more.

1200 Elmwood St
Detroit, MI 48207

2. Mt Elliott Cemetery

1701 Mount Elliott St, Detroit, MI 48207

Founded 1841, this is Michigan's oldest Catholic cemetery and the final resting place of many of the city's founding families (Beaubiens and Berthelets, Chenes and Chevrolets, Morans and Morosses) as well as the Palms family (the dynasty that brought you the Palms building, Palms Apartments, and more) and Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh.

1701 Mount Elliott St
Detroit, MI 48207

3. Woodlawn Cemetery

19975 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48203

Rosa Parks is interred here at the Rosa Parks Freedom Chapel. Lots of Motown greats here, too, including David Ruffin (the Temps), James Jamerson (Funk Bros. bassist), and Levi Stubbs (the Tops). Notable for its collection of private mausoleums, including those of Hazen Pingree, James Couzens, and the Dodge brothers (two studly sphinxes grace their tomb). The Hecker Mausoleum is even is Stanford White-designed. Cemetery founded in 1895.

19975 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48203

4. Woodmere Cemetery

9400 W Fort St, Detroit, MI 48209

Bring wheels (car or bike) to visit with James Vernor (soda baron), John Judson Bagley, David Whitney, D.M. Ferry, James Scripps (in an oustanding chapel-like private mausoleum), Hamilton Carhartt, David Buick, tobacco magnate Daniel Scotten, and the four young victims of the 1932 Ford Hunger March. The chapel dates to 1914 and includes a columbarium containing the urns of some of the most important advocates of the crematory movement in the U.S., including Dr. Hugo Erichsen. Cemetery dates to 1867.

9400 W Fort St
Detroit, MI 48209

5. Betholem Cemetary

Hamtramck, MI

This Jewish cemetery inside the GM Poletown plant is only open twice a year (the Sunday before Passover and the Sunday before Rosh Hashanah).

6. Assumption Grotto

Gratiot Avenue & East 7 Mile Road, Detroit, MI 48205

Behind Assumption Grotto Church (a 1929 neo-Gothic stunner) is a tiny cemetery with a hidden gem, the grotto for which the church is named, constructed in 1881. People used to come from all over the country seeking miracle cures.

Gratiot Avenue & East 7 Mile Road
Detroit, MI 48205

7. German Lutheran/Trinity Cemetery

5210 Mount Elliott Street, Detroit, MI 48211

Notable for its many German interments (that's why people call it German Lutheran) and for its commanding, ironic views of the crumbling Packard Plant.

5210 Mount Elliott Street
Detroit, MI 48211

8. Mt. Hazel Cemetary

18460 Lahser Rd, Detroit, MI 48219

It's tiny, and old, and blues singer Son House is buried here.

18460 Lahser Rd
Detroit, MI 48219

9. Forest Lawn Cemetery

Detroit, MI 48312

The city owns and operates this cemetery, as well as Gethsemane and B'Nai David. If you go, look for Wellington R. Burt's tomb (pictured).

10. Grand Lawn Cemetery

23501 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48219

Just like the name, it is grand and lawn-like. In 1908, the city elders were sure they had FINALLY located their rural cemetery farther away than the city limits would ever reach, but of course they were wrong (again). It's quite beautiful and there's an intriguing modernist mausoleum. Notable interments include Clarence Burton of the Burton Historical Collection and Jim Scott, general rogue and namesake of the fountain on Belle Isle. The River Rouge runs through the middle of the cemetery and there's a pretty willow-edged bridge over it.

23501 Grand River Ave
Detroit, MI 48219