Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx, New York)

Woodlawn Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in New York City and a designated National Historic Landmark. Located in Woodlawn, Bronx, New York City, it has the character of a rural cemetery. Woodlawn Cemetery opened during the Civil War in 1863,[1] in what was then southern Westchester County, in an area that was annexed to New York City in 1874.[2] It is notable in part as the final resting place of some great American figures, such as authors Countee Cullen, Nellie Bly, and Herman Melville, musicians Irving Berlin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, W. C. Handy, and Max Roach, husband and wife magicians Alexander Herrmann and Adelaide Herrmann, along with businessmen such as shipping magnate Archibald Gracie and department store founder, Rowland Hussey Macy.[3][4] Holly Woodlawn, after changing her name to such, falsely told people she was the heiress to Woodlawn Cemetery.

Woodlawn Cemetery
Main office building
LocationWebster Avenue and East 233rd Street
Woodlawn, Bronx, The Bronx
Coordinates40°53′21″N 73°52′24″W
NRHP reference #11000563
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 23, 2011
Designated NHLJune 23, 2011

Locale and grounds

The Cemetery covers more than 400 acres (160 ha)[1] and is the resting place for more than 300,000 people. Built on rolling hills, its tree-lined roads lead to some unique memorials, some designed by famous American architects: McKim, Mead & White, John Russell Pope, James Gamble Rogers, Cass Gilbert, Carrère and Hastings, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Beatrix Jones Farrand, and John La Farge. The cemetery contains seven Commonwealth war graves – six British and Canadian servicemen of World War I and an airman of the Royal Canadian Air Force of World War II.[5] In 2011, Woodlawn Cemetery was designated a National Historic Landmark, since it shows the transition from the rural cemetery popular at the time of its establishment to the more orderly 20th-century cemetery style.[6]

As of 2007, plot prices at Woodlawn were reported as $200 per square foot, $4,800 for a gravesite for two, and up to $1.5 million for land to build a family mausoleum.[7]

Burials moved to Woodlawn

Woodlawn was the destination for many human remains disinterred from cemeteries in more densely populated parts of New York City:[8]

  • Rutgers Street church graves were moved to Woodlawn. Most graves were re-interred with a stated date of December 20, 1866 into the Rutgers Plot, lots 147-170.
  • West Farms Dutch Reformed Church, at Boone Avenue and 172nd Street in The Bronx, had most of its graves moved to Woodlawn Cemetery in 1867 and interred in the Rutgers Plot, Lots 214-221.
  • Bensonia Cemetery, also known as "Morrisania Cemetery", was originally a Native American burial ground. The graves were moved to Woodlawn Cemetery with a stated date of April 21, 1871 and re-interred into Lot 3. Public School #138, in The Bronx, is now on the site.
  • Harlem Church Yard cemetery internees were moved to Woodlawn. Most graves were re-interred with a stated date of August 1, 1871 into the Sycamore Plot, lots 1061–1080.
  • Nagle Cemetery remains were moved in November–December 1926 and reinterred in Primrose Plot, Lot 16150. Identities of those interred are apparently unknown.
  • The Dyckman-Nagle Burying Ground,[9] West 212th Street at 9th Avenue, in the Borough of Manhattan, was originally established in 1677 and originally contained 417 plots. In 1905, the remains, with the exception of Staats Morris Dyckman[10] and his family, were removed. By 1927, the Dyckman graves were finally moved to Woodlawn Cemetery. The former Dutch colonial-era cemetery is now a 207th Street subway train yard.

The fictional cemetery of the Synagogue in Brooklyn in the film Once Upon a Time in America is actually located here, renamed "Riverdale Cemetery".[11]

Notable burials






















X, Y, Z

See also


  1. "A National Historic Landmark". The Woodlawn Cemetery. Archived from the original on November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  2. Jackson, Kenneth T. (1995). Encyclopedia of the City of New York. New Haven & New York: Yale University Press.
  3. "Notable People". Woodlawn Cemetery. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  4. Cooper, Rebecca (March 14, 2003). "Neighborhoods: Close-Up on Woodlawn". Village Voice. Archived from the original on June 20, 2006.
  5. "Find War Dead" Archived 2017-03-22 at Wikiwix Commonwealth War Graves Commission. WGC Cemetery Report. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  6. "National Register of Historic Places listings; July 22, 2011". National Park Service. July 22, 2011. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  7. Tom Van Riper, America's Most Expensive Cemeteries Archived 2017-01-21 at the Wayback Machine, Forbes.com, October 26, 2007
  8. Inskeep, Carolee (1998). The Graveyard Shift: A Family Historian's Guide to New York City Cemeteries. Ancestry Publishing. p. xii. ISBN 0-916489-89-2. Archived from the original on 2016-05-05. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  9. "Forgotten Cemeteries of Inwood". Archived from the original on 2014-10-15. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  10. "Staats/States Dyckman biography". New York State Museum. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  11. Barber, Malcolm. "Once Upon A Time In America Locations" (PDF). onceuponatimeinamerica.net/. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 September 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  12. Brady, Emily (February 25, 2007). "Amid the Gravestones, a Final Love Song" Archived 2017-08-22 at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times.
  13. "Norman B. Ream's Funeral". The Wall Street Journal. February 12, 1915. p. 8. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  14. "Norman Bruce Ream". Chicago Daily Tribune. February 14, 1915. p. 3. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
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