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James Whitcomb Riley Monument

Crown Hill Cemetery

Written by Julie Greiner
Crown Hill consists of some 555 acres. t is estimated that 82% of those who lived in Indianapolis prior to 1825, and who stayed here, are now buried at Crown Hill. Crown Hill is the 3rd largest (non-government) cemetery in the United States. 1,200 to 1,500 burials are made at Crown Hill each year, with over 180,000 total. Crown Hill contains 25 miles of paved roads. Is the only Indiana cemetery with a U.S. President, 3 Vice Presidents, and 4 unsuccessful VP candidates. The cemetery was listed on The National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

National Cemetery

The "Confederate Mound," located
on the north side of Section 32, is the final resting place of 1,616 Confederate prisoners of war. These soldiers died while confined at Camp Morton (located on the site of the old Fair Grounds, then located just north of the city-at what is now 22nd and Delaware Streets), from 1862-65. Most of these prisoners died at City Hospital and were originally buried in City Cemetery, later known as Greenlawn. Greenlawn became full and eventually closed. The area was zoned for industrial use and all non-military burials were removed by 1924. The War Department had
Eli Lilly Mausoleum
the Confederate dead removed to Crown Hill Cemetery in 1931. A two-year project to identify these veterans was lead by Stephen Staletovich, an Indianapolis police officer. As a result, ten bronze plaques mounted on granite bases were placed at the site. Each bears the names of all Southerners who died at Camp Morton. The monument and plaques were rededicated on October 3, 1993 in a ceremony that included representatives from 14 former Confederate states and territories. Each year on Memorial Day, numerous Civil War reenactment units honor these soldiers in a special ceremony held in front of the Confederate Mound
at 1:45 p.m. Included in the ceremony are numerous rifle and cannon salutes.

By wandering through just a handful of the cemetery's burial sections, you will discover first hand Victorian and modern day attitudes toward death and memorialization and see the symbolism used in a variety of statues, monuments, and mausoleums. By driving to the sections we walk through, we will maximize our viewing of some of Crown Hill's most beautiful monuments. The regular tour lasts 1 1/2 to 2 hours, but optional additions to visit some of the statues in the less often seen
National Cemetery
eastern portion of the cemetery, and/or some unique monuments incorporating photographs of the deceased could add another 30 to 45 minutes.

Confederate Mound

The Civil War was still being fought when Crown Hill opened its gates in 1864. On this tour we examine the lives of the many brave soldiers and generals who took part in the War Between the States, and of the politicians, journalists, and even household servants whose lives influenced and were influenced by our country's great conflict. Walking Tour, approximately one mile, 1 1/2 hours. Click here to learn more about the "Confederate Mound", the final resting place
Waiting Station
of 1,616 Confederate prisoners of war.

Crown Hill's Authors

A driving/walking tour in which we will see the graves of several of Indian's early poets, three of the giants of the Golden Age of Indiana Literature, Abe Martin's Kin Hubbard and other more contemporary writers like Etheridge Knight, and family members of Indianapolis' two best known contemporary writers, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Dan Wakefield. Not only are their lives discussed, but we will read selections from their works, many of which refer to Crown Hill or some of its permanent residents. Approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Crown Hill's Actors, Artists, Architects and Musicians

Stroll to the ragtime music of Julia Niebergall
John Dillinger Headstone
and May Aufderheide as we visit their graves, the graves of our city's first artists, and those of the artists in the turn of the century's Hoosier Group. An actor, actress, and the architects that built both Crown Hill's and our city's enduring structures are also discussed. A combination driving/walking tour, approximately 1 1/2 hours. Much of this tour takes place in the eastern half of Crown Hill which is not covered on the other tours.

Crown Hills African Americans

Learn about our city's Black heritage as we see where some of our most famous and influential African American citizens like James T. V. Hill, Rev. Mozel Sanders, Charles Taylor, Roger Brown and many more are buried.

Learn the early history of Indianapolis through the stories of those who lived here between 1820 and 1850. See the graves of the men whose names live on through our street names: Fletcher, Morris, McCarty; of Alexander Ralston, the man who platted out our city streets, and of other men and women who contributed to our city and states early social, political, and commercial development. Walking Tour, approximately one mile, 1 1/2 hours.

This walking/driving tour will take us to the graves of Crown Hill's famous and infamous not necessarily covered on any of the other tours, such as Robert Irsay, John Dillinger, Nancy Clem, and Cannonball Baker. Because of Indianapolis place as Indians capital city, and Indiana's pivotal place in national politics in the late 19th and early 20th century, on this tour we are able to visit the grave sites of one president, three vice presidents (more than in any other cemetery), three other prominent, though unsuccessful vice presidential candidates, ten Indiana governors, fourteen U.S. Senators, and numerous other cabinet officers, representatives, diplomats, state legislators, and mayors. The tour is made more interesting by giving many personal anecdotes which reveal their personalities and not just their politics. Walking Tour, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, a little over a mile.

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Last Updated: September 23, 2015