Resting In Peace

Indianapolis cemetery tours feature notables, scoundrels, art, architecture

October 09, 2005

Seven women stand reverently in front of the grave marker of Albertina Allen Forrest. The women do not know her -- she died in 1904 -- but they are learning a bit about her as part of an art and architecture tour at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

Forrest is one of more than 190,000 people buried in the cemetery. Among them are Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger and President Benjamin Harrison, whose grave is one of the top tourist destinations in the cemetery.

The mix of historic figures and lush grounds draws 2,000 to 3,000 people a year to Crown Hill's public tours, generally offered twice monthly from March through November. Thousands of others come on their own.

The cemetery was founded in 1863 at the site of a former tree farm and nursery. Its first burial was in 1864. Today, Crown Hill is home to more than 100 species of trees. About 25 miles of road lie within Crown Hill, which, at 555 acres, is one of the largest cemeteries in the country.

The grounds feature a Gothic chapel built in the late 1800s and a burial plot including the remains of more than 1,600 Confederate soldiers who died in Indianapolis as prisoners of war.

For more information about the cemetery: 317-925-8231; crownhill.org.

--Associated Press

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