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In 1863 Civil War engulfed the nation, drawing Confederate forces ever closer to Northern territories.  In the Mon Valley, every able-bodied man was called to arms, yet many would never return, their final journey marked by crude wooden coffins.  With the city cemetery quickly reaching its limit, concerned citizens convened at Caleb Harvey's public house, recognizing the urgent need for a dedicated resting place for fallen compatriots.


Pooling their resources, these citizens secured a plot from local farmer William McClure, envisioning a cemetery that would serve as a lasting tribute to their community.  Renowned 19th-century landscape architects Hare & Hare were commissioned to design the grounds, their expertise laying the groundwork for what would become one of the region's most esteemed burial sites.




A meeting of the citizens of Monongahela City and vicinity convened at the public house of Mr. Caleb Harvey on Friday, April 3, 1863, for the purpose of purchasing ground and locating a public cemetery. T.R. Hazzard presided over the meeting, with Joseph Wilson serving as secretary.  Following the meeting, the first ground purchased was 32 acres from William McClure for $1,040, including a "burying lot" for the McClure family. Additionally, it was decided that Fountain Square and Prospect Circle would be located at the brow of the hill.

The Monongahela Cemetery witnessed its first burial on May 14, 1863, before the cemetery was surveyed. Adda E. Poppinger, who died on May 12, 1863, was the first to be interred, followed tragically by her twin brother, John, on May 20th, both succumbing to inflammation of the brain at the age of four months.  John Nelson became the first Superintendent of Monongahela Cemetery in September 1863, earning a yearly salary of $300. Later, John Chislett, Superintendent of the Allegheny Cemetery and a preeminent architect of his time, was hired to survey the cemetery, dividing it into Sections A, B, C, D, and E.


Established in 1863 at the height of the Civil War, The Monongahela Cemetery is a non-sectarian and not-for-profit cemetery committed to the interment and memorialization of the dead.  With over 160 acres, it is the largest burial ground in the Monongahela Valley and is the first cemetery in the nation to be on the National Register of Historical Places for its esteemed architecture and landscape design.  We devote areas of quiet beauty and serenity to beckon the living as well as provide repose for those who have passed.  Our extensive grounds include select acres reserved for future development. Thoughtful planning and experienced grounds keeping ensure that the beauty and grace of the Monongahela Cemetery will endure for many years to come.



Today, Monongahela Cemetery stands as a testament to this enduring legacy.  Beyond its grand iron gates lies a sanctuary of tranquility, where paved paths wind gently up the slopes, leading visitors to a stone chapel, its walls steeped in a century of history.  Amidst this serene landscape, visitors are invited to wander, finding solace in quiet corners where the only disruptions are the whisper of river breezes and the occasional song of birds overhead.


Preserved with meticulous care, the cemetery's natural beauty serves as a testament to the harmonious blend of landscape artistry and preservation.  With each passing day, Monongahela Cemetery continues its journey through history, an oasis of reverence bridging the past with an ever-evolving tomorrow.

© 2024 The Monongahela Cemetery

At the request of the Starkweather Post 60 of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1871, the first veteran's section was created, later expanding due to overwhelming demand. The veteran's plot was adorned with a flagpole and three Parrott Rifled Cannons donated by the War Department.  A fountain was placed in the cemetery in 1892.  It was replaced in 1921 with a "lake," affectionately known as the goldfish pond.  In 1894, Monongahela Cemetery saw the construction of its chapel, designed by local architect F.P. Keller and built by the Yohe Brothers. This chapel remains a prominent landmark within the cemetery.

Landscape architects Hare and Hare of St. Louis, Missouri, were hired in 1915 to develop 130 acres of ground for the cemetery's future needs, with a design that accommodated the growing prominence of the automobile.  In 1924, the American Legion Frank Downer Post 302 requested land to create a Legion Section, underscoring the cemetery's commitment to honoring veterans. Today, the cemetery holds the remains of over 7,000 veterans from various conflicts.  In 2001, the Monongahela Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historical Places – the first cemetery in the nation to receive this honor – for its esteemed architecture, history, and natural beauty.

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