Alexander Ralston

Teachers created a memorial in memory of Alexander Ralston. Mr. Ralston helped Pierre L'Enfant design and plat Washington D.C. in the late 1700s. In 1821 Ralston surveyed and platted Indianapolis, Indiana incorporating several design elements from the Washington D.C. plan. He suggested the "Mile Square" plan for Indianapolis with most streets crossing at right angles and four diagonal avenues radiating from a central circle.

When he died in 1827, Mr. Ralston was buried at Greenlawn Cemetery, the original city cemetery located on what became the future site of the Diamond Chain Manufacturing Company. When the city planned to close Greenlawn in 1874, Ralston's remains were reinterred in the "destitute teachers lot" at Crown Hill Cemetery.

Proposals to honor the memory of Alexander Ralston went unfulfilled until 1937 when The Indianapolis Teachers' Federation commissioned a marker for his grave. The memorial bears the 1821 plat of the "Mile Square." Today, the Ralston memorial serves as the starting point for many Crown Hill school tours.

Students of history of all ages learn a lesson about the origins of the Hoosier state capital from his memorial in Section 3 at Crown Hill Cemetery. The Ralston memorial stands next to a large monument for John B. Dillon (1808 – 1879), author and historian who wrote a history of the Northwest Territory. Both men were interred in the charity lot reserved for "Destitute Instructors of Public Schools" in 1874.

Encyclopedia of Indianapolis

Calendar of Tours & Events

"In every movement in this needed and voluntary enterprise it is the desire of the corporators to acquire the approval and liberal cooperation of their fellow citizens, that the generations to crowd this city of our love may, in all future time, gratefully and surely trace the undisturbed resting places of their predecessors, whose dust shall have ‘returned to the dust as it was, and their spirits to God who gave them'."

The first public account of Crown Hill Cemetery

October 22, 1863