HomeThoughts and MusingsCSI: Euclid – Disappearance of a Cemetery

I’d start off this post with a clever play on CSI opening dialog, however, I’ve never once watched CSI, so I guess I’ll just get going with it 🙂

A cemetery has gone missing in my Euclid neighborhood, and I’m trying to find it. I’ve posted about this before, although it may only have been on facebook. Here the mystery cemetery is in the 1874 Cuyahoga County Atlas:

Atlas showing cemetery in 1874


Here it is in 1892. You can see the properties are pretty much unchanged.

Cemetery on the 1892 Atlas


By the time of the 1898 Atlas six years later, it is either gone, forgotten, or just not included in the atlas:

In 1898, the cemetery is gone! (Also, this map is not as accurately drawn as the others)

And just for good measure, I checked the 1914 atlas. The 1914 atlas shows the property was divided into thirds length-wise. Based on where it was drawn in the two earlier atlases, it would presumably have been in the northern-most third – the property owned by Gidley in this map.


1914 Atlas showing division of property, but no cemetery


What is there now, you ask? The property appears to be the very spot where Russell Park playground sits. Here is the 1892 atlas overlaid on a Google map of the area:

Cemetery on the north side of Russell Ave - exactly where the park is now

And here is a street view of that location – just to be completely, overly, totally redundant:

Careful in the sandbox, kids!

Thus far, I have pulled as many of the deeds as I have been able to find for the property. Usually, you will see a deed restriction mentioning a cemetery, but thus far (from 1866-1908), I have not found a single mention of a cemetery. The next step in deed research will be to pull earlier deeds for the property, as well as those that likely bordered the property on that side.

I have searched newspapers for any mention of a cemetery, but that is a bit difficult since I have no idea whether it had a name, or what it might have been. I’ve also checked for obits for names I’ve found in the area and time frame to see if I get a mention of someone being buried in a cemetery I’m not familiar with.

I have emailed the city, and did get a response back from the parks department saying they didn’t know anything about the property, check with housing, so that’s on my to-do list. The only two possibilities, as I see them, are these:

1. It was a small family cemetery that over time was just forgotten about, and the park is sitting on top of them.

2. It was  a small family cemetery, and eventually, all of the interred were moved.

As I sit working on this post, it occurs to me that in addition to asking around at city hall, I might want to check county commissioners records to see if there is any mention in there.  It strikes me as odd that the entire rest of the area is developed, yet this area was not, even though it sits right in the middle. Something is strange, and I just hope I have time to get to the bottom of it!

If you are interested in helping, please do!

Tune in next time as I (hope to) solve the case!


CSI: Euclid – Disappearance of a Cemetery — 2 Comments

  1. Here’s a possibility: the cemetery never existed. Mapmakers would occasionally make up features to prove someone had copied their map. By having a unique feature (like a fictional road, church, cemetery, etc.), they could prove that subsequent maps were copied from their map, rather than surveyed. I don’t know if that’s the case here, but it is something to consider.

  2. Hmmm, that’s an interesting thought. It had occurred to me that maybe the cemetery had been copied from the 1874 atlas in the 1892 atlas, but it did not occur to me that maybe it hadn’t existed at all. The only thing that makes me think that SOMETHING was different is that where the park now sits is in the middle of an area that was completely developed with the exception of those 2+ acres. I don’t know. Just one of those things that struck me as I was working on my own house history, and was too interesting not to investigate!