A town landmark since its construction 1857, Forest Hills Cemetery located in the Hill area at the corner of Observatory Street and Geddes Avenue is the final resting place of some of Ann Arbor”s most well-known figures.
“There”s a number of noteworthy individuals in Forest Hills,” said Wystan Stevens, an Ann Arbor resident who has given tours of the cemetery, usually around Halloween, since 1978.
“I usually give six tours a year, with 30 people in each,” he said. “Everyone”s interested in hearing about the people buried there.”
Among those individuals are former Michigan governor and senator Elfius Felch, former University football coach and Athletic Director Fielding H. Yost, former University President James B. Angell and Irving Kane Pond, the first football player to score a touchdown for the Wolverines.
Also found in the cemetery is Charles Manly, the only mayor of Ann Arbor to ever be burned in effigy by residents after he moved many grave sites from the city”s old public cemetery located where the Power Center is now to Fairview Cemetery, located on Wright Street east of the Huron River.
Maryanne Mueller, office manager of the cemetery, said the cemetery is located on a 65-acre plot of land and contains over 23,000 burial plots and 77,000 spaces, as well as several mausoleums.
“It is one of the largest in the area,” she said.
The cemetery began filling up soon after it was built when town residents moved burials from the old public cemetery to Forest Hills. Those buried at the public cemetery with no known living relatives were sent by Manly to Fairview, an act which prompted Ann Arbor citizens to rally against him.
Before the cemetery was constructed, the property included a cabin used for meetings by the Chi Psi fraternity.
Relatives of those buried in Forest Hills are not the only ones making visits to the cemetery. Students in the Hill area have been known to congregate there as well.
“That place is crazy,” said LSA freshman Caroline Larimer, who lives in Stockwell Residence Hall. “You should have seen all the people there during Halloween, running around, playing games and trying to scare the people walking by. But I”d never go there. It”s just a little too creepy for me.”
Few students know about those buried in the cemetery.
“I lived in Markley last year and walked by it every day,” said LSA sophomore Peter Johnson. “I had no idea so many well-known people were buried there. But still, it”s a cemetery unless you have a relative buried there or it”s Halloween and you want to joke around, why would you want to go there?”
LSA freshman Mindy Marburger, who lives in Mary Markley Residence Hall, said she shares the same sentiment.
“It looks pretty during the daytime, but at night, it”s a little scary. I don”t like walking near it,” Marburger said.
For LSA senior Kevin McCleary, the cemetery”s meaning goes beyond the adventures students can have there.
“Obviously, it has a lot of history with the people buried there,” he said. “It should be recognized as more than just a cemetery.”