One of my favorite historic places in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio, is one of quiet respite—Woodland Cemetery. Here lie some of the most influential and celebrated leaders, inventors, authors, and musicians who formed Dayton’s rich cultural heritage, as well as some dangerous criminals hanged for their deeds in the old days.
Woodland not only features magnificent granite carvings of larger-than-life angels, but also houses many headstones with Masonic symbols, ornate mausoleums, some unmarked graves, broken or worn headstones weathered and worn away by time, and even the graves of Apache Indians and other natives of this land.
Tourists come to Woodland to visit the gravesite of the famous Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville, who are buried alongside their sister and other family members. Ohio is, after all, home of “the first in flight.” African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, born in 1872 in Dayton, is also buried here, along with many other celebrities.
However, one of the most special aspects of this cemetery in the center of the city is its view of downtown Dayton. Woodland Cemetery contains the highest elevation point in the city and features a gazebo where artists come to paint the amazing skyline. Joggers use the hilly landscape for their workout routines, and photographers come during all seasons to capture the beauty and mystery of the place and its deceased (and living) inhabitants.
Each time I walk through Woodland, I feel at peace, and the photographs I have taken there over the years remind me of some of my favorite parts of Dayton’s legacy….