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March 3, 1866: Greenwood Cemetery Incorporated in Wheeling

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Wheeling’s Greenwood Cemetery was incorporated on March 3, 1866, by a group of prominent citizens. The first burial occurred the following July, though prior to that, several bodies had been relocated to Greenwood from other cemeteries. Civil engineer James Gilchrist laid out Greenwood as a park-like setting—a common cemetery design in the mid-1800s. It’s adorned with shrubbery, flowers, trees, and picket fences.

Greenwood Cemetery’s grounds have been expanded from the original 37½ acres to about 100 acres. The cemetery’s most recent addition is the Greenwood Chapel, which was built in 1983 by adding on to a 1909 receiving vault. During the past century, numerous bodies have been reburied at Greenwood when other cemeteries were taken by highways and other projects. More than 37,000 people are now buried in Greenwood, making it one of the largest cemeteries in West Virginia.

A stroll through Greenwood is like taking a walk through Wheeling history. It’s the final resting place of many of the city’s most prominent residents, including pioneer Mary Lovely Chapline Zane; banker and cigarmaker Augustus Pollack; brewer Henry Schmulbach; and department store founder Jacob C. Thomas.

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