City’s Largest Cemetery Is Final Resting Place Of City’s Founders

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When Greenlawn Cemetery first opened in 1848, it was celebrated with picnics and a party.

“It was a very different way of memorializing the dead,” Doug Motz of the Columbus Historical Society said. “It kind of goes from that graveyard around a church to a much more pleasant atmosphere. You can come and bird watch, you can come and see all the amazing monuments to all the most prominent people who founded Columbus.”

The more than 360-acre cemetery was so grand that a number of bodies were moved to the cemetery from others in the area, 10TV’s Kurt Ludlow reported.

“A number of people including, Lucas Sullivant, were removed from the Old Franklinton Cemetery to that one,” author and historian Ed Lentz said. “There are still probably about a hundred people still buried there.”

People like Lucas Sullivant, Eddie Rickenbacker, Simon Lazarus and Gordon Battelle are buried at Greenlawn.

“Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, a Columbus native, Ace of Aces of World War I, drove in the initial Indianapolis 500, at one point owned the Indianapolis speedway, had a car named after him,” Motz said. “He was such an important figure in Columbus that of three of the properties within Columbus that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, we have the Ohio Statehouse, we have the Ohio Theatre and we have Eddie Rickenbacker’s birthplace.”

A number of civic organizations have maintained Greenlawn and helped replace deteriorating stones.

Other cemeteries have not lasted as long, through, Ludlow reported.

What was the North Cemetery is now the North Market, and the South Cemetery is now Livingston Park and the city of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s recent expansion.

“So, as the city grows, these areas that were once on the countryside are no longer in the country and are amazing places for us to shop or for us to take care of our children,” Motz said.

Greenlawn Cemetery is open to the public daily and offers special presentations the first Saturday of each month.

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