Forest Hill History
The Cemetery’s cut field-stone gatehouse and sexton’s house have been designated Historic Buildings by the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission. James Morwick built the Gothic stone entrance and the gateway bell was originally rung for funerals. The stone house and office were added in 1874, designed by Gordon W. Lloyd, an architect of English origin who was the preeminent architect of Gothic Revival churches and cathedrals in the Midwest in the 1860s and 1870s. Lloyd was the architect of St. Andrews Episcopal Church and the Congregational Church of Ann Arbor, as well as Central United Methodist Church and the David Whitney House (currently The Whitney restaurant) in Detroit.
Forest Hill Cemetery is a significant cultural landscape. The design of Forest Hill is in the Romantic and rural cemetery tradition, popularized in the 19th Century. The belief was that burying and commemorating the dead was best done in a tranquil and beautiful natural setting away from the center of town. The first and most well known American rural cemetery was Mount Auburn in Boston, founded in 1831 and widely imitated.
The natural beauty of Forest Hill Cemetery is due in large part to its abundance of trees. A 1998 inventory of the Cemetery’s woody plants identified a total of over 1,800 trees and large shrubs representing 64 different species growing in the Cemetery’s 65 acres of gardens. The forest includes stately oaks and hickories that were growing long before Ann Arbor was founded, as well as many fine sugar maples.
Many leading citizens of Ann Arbor and distinguished members of the University of Michigan community are laid to rest in Forest Hill. The first permanent interment was Benajah Ticknor (d.1858), the US naval surgeon originally from Connecticut who built the Cobblestone Farm house. The families of Ann Arbor founder John Allen and co-founder Elisha Walker Rumsey are buried here. So are Michigan’s first state supreme court justice William Asa Fletcher and famous U-M football coaches Fielding H. Yost and Bo Schembechler.
—History Researched and Prepared by Jeanne Kin