Woodlawn was chartered by the State of New York in 1858 and is comprised of 184 scenic acres. Its paths and avenues wind through hills and wooded areas with towering trees, family plots, mausoleums, lovely marble sculptures and hand carved memorial stones. Designed by noted architect Howard Daniels, it is part of the "rural cemetery" concept which created park-like cemeteries. Daniels created designs for cemeteries throughout New York and Ohio and was a finalist in the competition for the creation of New York City's Central Park.
The cemetery, with its wrought iron gates and fences, is a repository of Chemung Valley history and contains the stories of all those who have in ways large and small, known and unknown, contributed to the building of this wonderful place we call home.
Some of its famous residents include:
- Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
- Hal Roach, Pioneer Hollywood film-maker
- John W. Jones, Underground Railroad agent and chronicler of Confederate dead from the Elmira Civil War Prison Camp
- Ernie Davis, first black recipient of the Heisman Trophy
- Ross Marvin, team member of Admiral Peary's North Pole Expedition
- Matthias Arnot, Aviation pioneer, patron of the Arts
- Oliver Smith, most decorated American set designer of 20th Century, winner of 8 Tony Awards
Military and political leaders interred include:
- Brevet Brig. General Alexander Diven, Civil War, NY State Senate, US Representative
- Brevet Brig. General William M. Gregg, Civil War
- Brevet Brig. General Henry C. Hoffman, Civil War
- Major General Matthew Carpenter, Revolutionary War, War of 1812
- Governor Lucius Robinson, State of New York
- Governor Alexander W. Randall, State of Wisconsin, US Postmaster General, envoy to the Vatican
- J. Sloat Fassett, NY State Senator, US Representative
Underground Railroad Participants
The story of Elmira is integral to an understanding of the Network to Freedom. Without knowing the part that the abolitionists of Elmira played in it, an understanding of the importance of the Underground Railroad would be incomplete. Some of these progressive-minded individuals were white business and professional persons, formerly enslaved people and freeborn Black people; all shared a love of freedom and courageous hearts.
Woodlawn Cemetery is part of the Points of Inspiration Scenic Views Trail. For more information and stops on the trail, visit www.pointsofinspiration.net.