Pioneer Cemetery

Throughout our history, Crown Hill Cemetery has preserved the legacy of the pioneer families who founded and built our community with the help of private citizens, donors, corporate sponsors, and government agencies. Over 80 percent of the pioneers who built Indianapolis are buried here. Many rest in family lots, many others in the Pioneer Cemetery on the north grounds of Crown Hill.

The Crown Hill Pioneer Cemetery provides security and permanence while it serves as an educational resource for the thousands of families and school children who visit Crown Hill annually. The remains of the 1,161 citizens from Indianapolis's first city cemetery, Greenlawn, came to Crown Hill in 1912. In 1999, the remains of five branches of the Rhoads family were moved from Indianapolisís west side. With the addition of the Whitesell-Wright-Gentry Cemetery in 2008, Crown Hill will have incorporated three pioneer cemeteries representing more than 1,200 burials from as early as 1820.

"After the old cemetery had been extended to the river on the west, and the Terre Haute Railroad on the north, it was found that before many years the space would be insufficient, and the pressure of business would probably displace the dead and cover their graves with shops, factories and mills. To provide against this certain though remote difficulty an association (Crown Hill Cemetery) was formed on the 25th of September, 1863."

W. R. Holloway, 1870

"More than 150 years ago these pioneers came to Indiana, drawn to the Hoosier State by new opportunities and continuing progress. Today we continue on the path of progress while respecting the pioneers who helped us along that path. Thanks to the involvement of many of Indianaís top archaeologists and forensic anthropologists, family descendants, local historical groups, Crown Hill Cemetery and the Castleton United Methodist Church, we were able to maintain the highest level of respect for these pioneers throughout the cemetery relocation process."

Commissioner Karl B. Browning
Indiana Department of Transportation
Rededication of Wright-Whitesell-Gentry Cemetery at Crown Hill

The Pioneer Cemetery at Crown Hill

This Is a Cemetery

Lives are commemorated - deaths are recorded -
families are reunited - memories are made tangible -
and love is undisguised. This is a cemetery.

Communities accord respect, families bestow reverence,
historians seek information, and our heritage is thereby enriched.

Testimonies of devotion, pride and remembrance are
carved in stone to pay warm tribute to accomplishments
and to the life - not death - of a loved one. The cemetery
is homeland for family memorials that are a sustaining
source of comfort to the living.

A cemetery is a history of people - a perpetual record
of yesterday and a sanctuary of peace and quiet today.
A cemetery exists because every life is worth loving and remembering - always.