A 150-Year Legacy

The history of Crown Hill reflects the rich heritage of the people of Indiana. Founded in 1863, Crown Hill Cemetery has served Indianapolis area families for more than 150 years. We invite you to learn more about Crown Hill through our Heritage Foundation.

Chronology of Historic Crown Hill Cemetery

 
1863 Sept. 25: Cemetery is incorporated as a non-profit, non-denominational, and non-sectarian with a Board of thirty corporators.
  Oct. 16: First 236 acres of land are purchased from three local farmers for $51,000.
  Dec. 31: Fredrick Chislett, landscape architect and first superintendent, moves his family into a cabin on the south approach of "The Crown."
 
1864 June 1: Dedication ceremony for the new cemetery.
  June 2: Lucy Ann Seaton becomes the first burial with her funeral conducted by Rev. Hanford Edson.
  July 30: Main entrance and lodge (on the Michigan Road) is completed.
  Oct. 30: East Entrance to the cemetery is open.
  Fall: First private mausoleum for the Caleb Smith family is completed in Section 5.
 
1865 Feb. 19: Josephine Jones becomes the first Black interment at Crown Hill.
 
1866 May 1: Gatehouse at the east entrance is completed.
  July 1: A total of 480 burials are recorded with 71 monuments and 85 memorials.
  Aug. 27: U.S. Government purchases land for a National Cemetery. The first 707 soldiers are moved to this section in November.
 
1867 Sept. 9: A residence for the superintendent on the grounds is approved with completion in 1869.
 
1868 May 30: First Memorial Day is celebrated at the National Cemetery.
 
1869 June 1: Grounds are expanded to 256 acres.
 
1872 Apr. 12: Crown Hill Board votes to help finance the replacement of a wooden bridge over Fall Creek with an iron one so that large monuments can be brought to the cemetery.
 
1875 Jan. 7: Gothic chapel designed by D.A. Bohlen is commenced and completed by year's end.
 
1877 Nov. 13: Cemetery donates several lots to various benevolent societies.
 
1878 Apr. 26: Oliver P. Morton become the first of ten Indiana governors interred at Crown Hill.
 
1880 Jan. 20: First telephone installed at the cemetery.
 
1885 Nov: New Archway and Waiting Station is completed at the east gate, which becomes the main entrance.
 
1886 Apr. 30: All property south of Maple Road (38th St.) has now been purchased and amounts to 393 acres.
 
1889 July: A total of 157 acres on the north side of Maple Road is purchased.
 
1901 April: Original main entrance on Michigan Road is razed and replaced by a new west entrance of the southwest corner of South Grounds.
 
1911 Oct. 11: Forty acres on north side of Maple Road purchased.
 
1912 Feb: Reburial of 1,100 Indianapolis pioneers is made from Greenlawn Cemetery.
  Nov 7: Autos are permitted entrance to the cemetery.
 
1914 May: A new superintendent's residence is planned south of the Waiting Station on Boulevard Place.
  June: First sections of the brick and wrought iron fence are completed on the north and south sides of 38th St.
 
1917 Oct. 17: James Whitcomb Riley becomes the first burial on "The Crown."
 
1918 April: First automobile is purchased for the cemetery.
 
1925 Fall: Bridge / underpass Subway beneath 38th St. is commenced. It is completed by the summer 1927.
 
1931 Oct. 27: Confederate dead, numbering 1, 616 prisoners of war who died at Camp Morton in the city, are reburied from Greenlawn.
 
1933 Feb. 7: Last cemetery work horses are sold.
 
1935 Nov. 16: First family interment is made in the North Grounds (Section 223).
 
1942 Oct: Military bivouac or "War Show" consisting of more than 250 pyramidal tents and 2,600 soldiers is erected on the North Grounds to aid in recruiting efforts.
 
1950 June: Last two dwellings (including the superintendent's home) are razed.
 
1951 Jan. 13: Community Mausoleum dedicated.
 
1957 April: Entrance north of 38th St. opened.
 
1962 Spring: First of several Garden Crypts is erected east to the Community Mausoleum.
 
1968 April: Southwest entrance (at 32nd and the old Michigan Road) is closed and removed.
  July: Ground breaking for the New Administration Building at the 38th St. Office.
 
1972 May 2: Restored Gothic Chapel is dedicated.
 
1973 Feb. 28: Crown Hill Cemetery is designated a National Historic Place.
 
1985 Apr.10: Crown Hill Heritage Foundation incorporated to aid with preserving Crown Hill's heritage.
 
1987 April: Equatorial Sundial placed in front of the Community Mausoleum.
 
1988 Spring: Crown Hill Cemetery is recognized as a museum of local and state history.
 
1990 Fall: The Lewis E. Enkema Fountain placed inside the 34th St. entrance.
 
1991 May 27: Dedication of the monument in the new military section takes place. Honors are extended to the United States Army, Navy, Air force, Marines, and Coast Guard.
 
1992 Fall: Historic brick fence restoration completed.
 
1993 Spring: Crown Hill Funeral Home dedicated.
  Oct. 3: Rededication of the Confederate lot (bronze plaques at this site contain the names of those interred here).