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Spring Hill Cemetery

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1869 and later, A. J. Vosburgh and Thomas Matthius. 1554 Farnsworth Dr.
  • Spring Hill Cemetery (Michelle Krone)
  • Spring Hill Cemetery (State Historic Preservation Office, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Frances Buchanan)
  • Spring Hill Cemetery (Michelle Krone)
  • Spring Hill Cemetery (Michelle Krone)
  • Spring Hill Cemetery (Michelle Krone)
  • Spring Hill Cemetery (Michelle Krone)
  • Spring Hill Cemetery (Michelle Krone)

West Virginia's largest cemetery, a 172-acre tract, overlooks the city from a hill northeast of downtown. City officials established the cemetery in 1869 and hired A. J. Vosburgh, a civil engineer, and Thomas Matthius (or Matthews), a surveyor, to plat it. Old Circle, the first section, has a formal, circular layout composed of intricately curved pathways. Later sections are less formal, with meandering roadways following topographical dictates. The adjoining cemeteries of Mount Olivet (Roman Catholic) and B'nai Israel (Jewish) are now considered part of Spring Hill.

Near the center of the cemetery stands the Spring Hill Mausoleum (1910; restored 1985, Paul D. Marshall and Associates), a large, reinforced concrete structure with a smooth limestone facing and red-tiled dome. It combines classic proportions with Romanesque arches and details but somehow manages to impart a mostly Moorish feeling. The Stump family markers and the headstone of Sanford A. Hickel (1816–1887) are among the more unusual memorials. A carved stone tree trunk, or stump, “sawn off” several feet above ground, marks the Stump family plot. Near the stump, smaller “logs,” arranged as if they had been cut from the same tree and had fallen nearby, contain the names and dates of family members. Hickel lies under a cylindrical stone cushion that informs passersby of his two inventions: the “water-proof patten enamel used on leather steel and wood. Pat. in 1866” and the “great cold liquor quick tan,” patented a year earlier.

Spring Hill is the essence of the romantic Victorian burial park. Its grounds are embellished with carved angels, obelisks, broken columns, and mausoleums that honor the city's well-to-do, as well as a potter's field and markers honoring Confederate dead. Its expansive and mature landscaping provide a welcome, green oasis close to the heart of the city.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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