Wednesday, May 9, 2018
The former gatehouse at Woodland Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.
Woodland Cemetery was established in 1853, and quickly became the pre-eminent burial place in the city.
The Cleveland City Council approved the construction of a large stone gate and gatehouse at Woodland Cemetery in 1868. Architect Joseph Ireland was hired in 1869 to develop plans for these structures, and his work was largely complete by the end of January 1870. The city council debated whether to put the gate on Quincy Avenue (where the Garden Street Railway was due to extend its tracks) or Woodland Avenue (where one saloon already stood opposite the entrance and another was due to open soon). This debate ended on March 22 when the council voted that Woodland Avenue was the appropriate place for a cemetery named Woodland.
Ireland's plan called for a structure estimated to cost $8,000 ($155,000 in 2017 dollars). Construction began in April 1870, and the new gatehouse opened on November 8, 1870.
The 80-foot long structure was built of quarry-faced stone obtained near Independence, Ohio. The structure was Gothic Revival in style. The arch contained a central carriageway, with pedestrian gates on either side. The carriageway was 16 feet wide and 22 feet high. It was surmounted by a belfry, whose tip reached 42 feet into the air. The roof of the arch was wood. Side buildings, each 18 by 22 feet, were attached to the arch. Each was accessed by a door under the arch, and each building had windows in the north and south facades. The western side-building was used as a waiting room, while the cemetery office occupied the east side-building. A small addition was made to the east side-building in 1876. Designed by architect Alexander Koehler and built by contractor A.J. Piper at a cost of $636.37 ($15,000 in 2017 dollars), this addition contained a coal room (a room for storing heating coal) and bathroom.
A fire severely damaged the gatehouse, and it was dismantled. Just when this occurred is not clear. Some sources say the fire and dismantling both occurred in the mid 1980s. Others say only the fire occurred in the 1980s, and the dismantling in late 1995.
Even the nature of the dismantling is in dispute. Cemetery supporters claim the structure was "carefully" dismantled and stored. But local news sources say the stones were "dumped" in a pile.