The Columbus City
Page Design © 2008 by David K. Gustafson
Content © 1985 by Donald M. Schlegel
(original on file)
History of the North Graveyard
THE KERR TRACT
Some of the grandest buildings in the world have been tombs; such are the pyramids of Egypt, the castle of St. Angelo, and the Taj Mahal of India. Such magnificent edifices were not raised by the settlers of central Ohio, who were followers of the more modest traditions of the Jews, Greeks, Romans, and many other ancient nations in burying their dead in the ground. In Christian countries, the tradition of burial in a church yard evolved from the practise of placing near the altar the remains of the saint in whose name the church was dedicated.
In frontier Ohio, at the time of the founding of the town of Columbus in 1812, not only were magnificent edifices not raised to the dead, but there was not even any church or churchyard to accommodate this necessity of human occupation of the land. The four proprietors of the town therefore dedicated a small tract of land for use as a graveyard by the inhabitants of their new town on July 2, 1813. The land was in a wooded and somewhat swampy area (though the lot itself was not unusually wet), 825 feet north of the limits of the town plat, which then ended at North Public Lane (Naghten street). It measured 330 feet north and south and 198 feet east and west and contained one and one half acres.1 The site is now the south-east corner of Park and Spruce streets. It is not clear what route was used to reach the graveyard from the town, but an extension of High street along its present route, as had been contemplated by the proprietors in laying out additional outlots, was probably used with an unofficial roadway