Woodland Cemetery: A land for the living

Woodland Cemetery

Woodland Cemetery dates back to 1846 when John Wood donated it to the City of Quincy.

Even though more than 60,000 people are buried there, it's become a land for the living in the 21st Century.

"We're standing on ground that John Wood owned and that he actually walked," local historian Reg Ankrom said. "The beautiful thing about it is it's very restful. Much in the tradition of the Greek revival cemetery, the Victorian cemetery, where people didn't just bury their dead, but would occasionally come to commune with them. That's the kind of thing John Wood was interested in -- what connects us to our past?"

John Wood along with four of his descendants are buried in Woodland Cemetery. John Wood V was buried here just last year.

"It isn't just for the dead, it's really for the living as well," Ankrom said. "On any given day or evening, particularly on a beautiful day, you'll see people walking. People use the paved walkways to drive, walk and just to think about what's here, who's here."

One group of walkers from Cheryl Loatsch Studio enjoy the great outdoors every Saturday morning for exercise. Woodland Cemetery has become one of the places they walk.

"With the class, we seem to walk here every four or five weeks," walker John Longlett said. "The most noticeable thing for me are the stones and monuments that are here, the craftsmanship, particularly when you think about the technology that would've been available when that was done. It's like a history lesson each time we walk here. I notice something new."

"I love this walk," walker Susan Moore said. "It's my favorite walk. It's a good workout. There's a lot of elevation here. Just really enjoy looking at the different names. It's just a beautiful walk in the morning. It's peaceful and calm. It doesn't feel like a workout."

Woodland Cemetery has also become a place of rest for the living.

"It's a place when we get caught up in the rush of our daily activities, you can come here and relax," Ankrom said. "It's very quiet."

More than 40 acres of land serve as the final resting place for Supreme Court justices, prominent Quincy citizens along with those less fortunate.

"The humble are buried with the honored," Ankrom said. "This is a place where we all are equal. There are African-American and Whites. There are Union soldiers who are buried alongside Confederate soldiers. There's a medal of honor winner. Women, men, all of us are humble and all of us are alike, and we go to the same place."

Woodland Cemetery has an office that has information about the styles of tombstones.

The Historical Society of Quincy also holds one to two walking tours a year.