Now, before we start, let's get it out in the open and try to avoid arguments...OF COURSE there are older cemeteries in Michigan, many of them hundreds of years old way up north. But according to records and reports, the following one is the oldest, STILL-OPERATING, non-denominational graveyard in Michigan: the Elmwood Cemetery, 1200 Elmwood Avenue in Detroit. Any conflicts? Contact them.

Founded in 1846, the cemetery is home to many Detroit notables: governors, congressmen, senators, mayors, civil war generals, baseball players, and occasional rock star.

The awesome Gothic Revival chapel on the cemetery’s west side was built in 1856, destroyed by fire in 1976. However, public outcry demanded this chapel be restored…so it was, and still stands.

This place is full of history. If you walk the grounds, you’ll be impressed by some of the people buried there: former mayor Coleman Young, MC5 guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith, baseball Hall of Famer Sam Thompson, and many, many others, including Detroit’s first millionaire, Eber Brock Ward.

Pay a visit, walk the grounds, and get a sense of Michigan history.

Elmwood Cemetery was designated as a State Historic Site in 1975.


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