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About this collection



“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage- to know who we are and where we have come from."  -  Alex Haley


This is a collection of photographs, articles, maps, and miscellaneous information sources. The collection is an attempt to digitize the history of the oldest cemeteries in Indianapolis, Indiana.


The first cemetery in Indianapolis was called the City Cemetery and was also known as the Union Cemetery (due to the soldiers buried there during the civil war when the Confederates were held as prisoners at Camp Morton here in Indianapolis, Indiana). The City Cemetery is shown existing on a map of Indianapolis from 1876. The City Cemetery was located where the Diamond Chain Company is now at the intersection of South Street, West Street and Kentucky Avenue.


As the city grew, other cemeteries were created and Greenlawn became a scavenger site for cadavers for the local Surgery School.


By the 1870s, the City/Union/Greenlawn Cemetery was more commonly as referred to as Greenlawn. With the 1864 opening of Crown Hill, Greenlawn fell into disuse, though it appears that there were still burials there until its closing in 1890. By that year, many of the earlier burials (including many notables in the early Indianapolis history) had already been moved to Crown Hill, Floral Park, and Holy Cross Cemeteries by their family members. (Genealogical Society of Marion County-


Most of the occupants of Greenlawn were moved to Crown Hill, including the soldiers. The Confederate dead from Camp Morton were first buried in Indianapolis’ Greenlawn Cemetery. Initially, volunteers buried Confederate soldiers, as national cemeteries were built only for Union soldiers. Until the turn of the 20th century, Congress made no effort to provide for or identify Confederate burial sites. In 1912, the Federal Government erected a 27-foot tall monument to commemorate the Confederate dead at Greenlawn, as individual graves could not be identified and marked with headstones. In 1928, this monument was relocated to Garfield Park, three miles south of downtown, where it still stands today. (National Park Service - The monument to the soldiers put there by the Federal Government to honor them in 1912 was moved to Garfield Park and is still there today.


The Holy Cross Cemetery is now joined with The St. Joseph Cemetery, Calvary Cemetery and the oldest of them, what is known as the Kelly Street Cemetery. (The Kelly Street Historic Jewish Cemeteries of Indianapolis, Indiana - I have tried to make a small collection of all 4 of these cemeteries.


The graves were moved at Greenlawn but the land is still there. This is, for the moment, a minimal collection of the items that could be accumulated at these cemeteries before they truly become non existent.



            Catholic Cemeteries, Indianapolis Hebrew Society, and The Genealogical Society of Marion County holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.


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