The first is Elmwood Cemetery located east of Detroit. Its significance lies in the fact that it was the site of a massive battle in 1763 called the Battle of Bloody Run, an attempt to break Pontiac’s siege from Fort Detroit. Consecrated in 1846, Elmwood was Michigan’s first non-denominational cemetery; one of the first racially integrated cemeteries in the Midwest; and later was redesigned by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead to infuse a calm contemplation of nature. It is the final resting place of mayors, governors, veterans of every war since the Revolution, abolitionists and countless Detroit notables, including Governor and Senator Lewis Cass, Mayor Coleman A. Young, personality from radio Martha Jean “The Queen” Steinberg, guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith of MC5, and Bernhard Stroh, creator of the Stroh’s family of beers.

Mount Elliott was dedicated in 1841, making it one of the oldest cemeteries in Detroit. Without forgetting that it is dedicated to the large Catholic community of Detroit. It serves as the final resting place for many generations of prominent Detroiters and ordinary citizens. Mount Elliot was created shortly after Michigan gained statehood. Several of the city’s first European settlers were buried here after being moved from the cemetery to the original St. Anne’s Church. Descendants of the first French settlers of Detroit, including the Campau, Beaubien, Chene, Palms and Moross families, as well as members of the Irish, Polish, Flemish and German immigrant communities, are pictured with memorials to their esteemed dead. Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, the Schoenherr family, the Van Dyke family and many prominent businessmen, politicians, lawyers, judges and clergy have been laid to rest here.

Mount Olivet cemetery

Mt. Olivet is the largest cemetery in Detroit. It was consecrated in 1888 and is home to majestic oak trees as well as many large family mausoleums. The preferred burial site for many generations of families on the east side of Detroit, Mount Olivet is a serene resting place and an important landmark in nearly a century and a half of Detroit history. You will hear stories about the famous and the infamous, including mafia bosses and Titanic survivors.

Woodlawn Cemetery

Woodlawn Cemetery on the north side of Detroit, along Woodward Avenue near 8 Mile. This cemetery is the final resting place of many notable citizens of Detroit. From the eccentric Dodge brothers to soul queen Aretha Franklin. Woodlawn is truly a sight to see with its incredibly expansive area coverage. It’s no surprise that these precious lands have played host to an array of Detroiters, including Mayors Hazen S. Pingree, James Couzens and Albert Cobo; auto tycoons Roy Chapin and Edsel Ford; businessmen Frank Hecker and JL Hudson; civil rights activist Rosa Parks; as well as many stars, artists and sports personalities of Motown, gospel and hip-hop.

Details of the visit:

Please note the visits will be held with strict COVID-19 security protocols in place to ensure the safety of guests.

Hear the stories behind the famous (and infamous) while soaking up the magnificent art and architecture of the mausoleums and tombstones.

When: Tours are offered every Saturday throughout October.

Ticket Information: The Detroiters are strongly encouraged to reserve their seats as soon as possible. Only advance tickets are accepted. Buy at

Tickets are available until 6 p.m. on the Friday before the tour or while supplies last. The price is $ 20 for Preservation Detroit members and $ 25 for non-members.

Guests: Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of the tour. All tours take place regardless of the weather. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The tours last three hours.

Recall: Preservation Detroit offers these walking tours with COVID precautions in place.

Preservation Detroit Cemetery tours 2021 schedule:

  • October 2 Mount Elliott
  • October 9 Elmwood
  • October 16 Mount Elliott
  • October 23 Mount Olivet
  • October 30 Woodlawn

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