BACK Page 27 CONTINUE
Highland Cemetery
(943 North River Street)
Washtenaw County - Historic District Commission: Highland Cemetery is typical of the "rural tradition" cemetery design which emphasizes its natural setting. This design originated in France and was first seen in Greenwood Cemetery in New York. Highland Cemetery, as well as Forest Hill in Ann Arbor, was designed by James Glen, a landscape architect from Niles, Michigan.

Dedicated on July 14, 1864, Highland Cemetery served as the final resting place for Ypsilanti's pioneer, commercial, social and educational community. Mary Anne Starkweather commissioned the Richard Romanesque chapel, designed by George Mason, in honor of her husband John, which crowns the entry drive.

The oldest gravesite is that of Walter Oatman. His body and dozens of others were moved to Highland Cemetery from Pioneer and Prospect cemeteries. Washtenaw County YC-27 Historical Marker.

Overlooking the City of Ypsilanti, on the edge of a primeval lake, is Highland Cemetery, the final resting place for many who once lived in the city. This is the third burial place in the history of the city, the others being too small to meet the needs of a growing community. The original forty acres were purchased for use as a burial ground in 1864, and landscaped under the direction of Colonel James Lewis Glenn of Niles, Michigan. His design created a natural garden like setting of winding drives and walkways, with flowers and shrubs. To the original trees were added cypress, willow pine and cedar. Highland is the premier example of the garden cemetery in the state of Michigan.

The cemetery was dedicated on July 14, 1864, the ceremony held on Block Thirty-Two. The first burial had been held the day before, that of Elias Norton, who was seventy-five years of age. He is interned in Lot One, Block One. Those buried at Highland included soldiers of the American Civil War, outstanding members of the local community and many who made Ypsilanti their home.

Highland Cemetery is recognized as a historic site, and a marker from the Washtenaw County Historic District Commission is on display at the entrance to the grounds. The plaque was presented to the cemetery in August of 1989.