Spring Hill Cemetery

Contact Information: 

Perry Cox, Superintendent
1555 Farnsworth Drive
Charleston, WV 25301
P: (304) 348-8010
F: (304) 348-6406
springhillcemeterypark@cityofcharleston.org

Hours of operation: 

Monday thru Friday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Please note, we are now operating from our newly constructed office at the Cemetery.

We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Our ancestors have provided the foundations of our community thus enriching our lives. We will, therefore, honor the memory of our predecessors by forever keeping the grounds of Spring Hill Cemetery Park in good order - a quiet place of repose for the deceased and a restful, scenic park for the living.

Spring Hill Cemetery Park: A Brief History

Charleston was authorized as a town in 1794 and until 1869 the municipal cemetery was a small plot next to the Kanawha River on the James River and Kanawha Turnpike.

By 1869 the old burial ground had run out of space and the city began Spring Hill Cemetery on a hill overlooking Charleston.

A.J. Vosburg, a civil engineer, designed the Old Circle section of Spring Hill Cemetery which incorporated beautiful geometric patterns for the walkways typical of the Victorian era.

After more than 130 years Spring Hill Cemetery has grown to more than 150 acres and the complex is now West Virginia's largest cemetery. With its remarkably beautiful location overlooking the gold domed Capitol it is one of the Kanawha Valley's most scenic sites. In 1998, the name was officially changed to Spring Hill Cemetery Park.

Although Spring Hill Cemetery Park is still an active cemetery with a new section opened recently it is also a wonderful place to walk, enjoy nature's beauty and an awesome view of the valley.

Bird watching is a very popular activity and the trees and flowers provide an outdoor classroom for the many school classes who visit often.

Historians find Spring Hill Cemetery Park especially interesting since many key figures in the development of West Virginia and Charleston rest there.

Civil War notables abound from both the Blue and Grey including Gen. Appleton who was an officer of a famous black regiment, The 52nd Massachusetts. Thomas Brown was the Confederate officer who sold the beloved horse "Traveler" to Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Spring Hill Cemetery Park can be reached from the North end of Morris Street by going right on Piedmont Road and up the ramp over the interstate, then on up to the top of the hill on Farnsworth Drive.

Open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Gates are open dawn to dusk 7 days a week.

The Monuments

Monument Diversity:  Within the expansive grounds are numerous high quality monuments carved in bas and sunken relief, with rock-faced or polished surfaces. Neo-Egyptian Revival style marble monuments may be seen in the Mountain View Section. The Littlepage memorial, a colossal sandstone acorn, adorns the family plot in the section 47 area of Spring Hill Cemetery. One of the finest expressions of stone carving art is seen in the Stump family plot, Scruggs Addition, where markers are fashioned in the form of tree stumps. Poems, in epitaph form, are inscribed upon the flat limestone monuments covering the graves of Walter E. Clark and wife, in the private Mountain View section, attesting to the richness and variety of subjects of artistic merit found in the cemetery. Also note the stately grace of the Thayer Bowl, the unique quality of the metal work in the Fife monument and the poignant imagery of the Chaddock marker with its sharp relief and distinct details.

Mausoluem: The single most architecturally significant feature on the cemetery grounds is the mausoleum. It was built in 1910 and sold to the city in 1969. With its stone facade and tiled roof, the Moorish type architecture of the mausoleum is distinguished from other architectural styles in the area. It is centrally loacted at the crossroads, and visually dominant.

Crypts: We call attention to the Watkins crypt in the Old Circle with its beautiful door in the Art Deco Style. Other stone crypts were built in similar styles fashionable in the late 1800s and early twentieth century, notably the Neo-Classical Revival, Romanesque Revival, and Gothic Revival.

Obelisks: While the grounds of the cemetery are filled with a wide variety of monuments reflective of mortuary and funereal art popular during the period 1869-1935, there are only a few polished granite, marble and limestone monolithic obelisks. They mark the graves of such prominent West Virginians as Governor Atkinson, immediately west of Spring Hill Section 26; black leader Sam Starks, immediately west of the Confederate Cemetery; businessman Arnold Midelburg, (Hebrew) B' Nai Israel Cemetery; Judge James H. Brown, Spring Hill Old Circle section; and Senator John Kenna, Mt. Olivet (Roman Catholic) Cemetery. Although few in number, they still constitute the largest display of granite, limestone and marble obelisks in West Virginia. Rising to a height of 30 feet or more, these shafts represent an ancient Egyptian form sacred to the solar religion and popular with 19th-century Americans searching for an appropriate historic style among the classical and Near Eastern civilizations.

The Old Circle

The oldest section of Spring Hill Cemetery is known as the Old Circle. It is artfully laid out, being situated on a promontory overlooking Farnsworth Drive. The monuments, curbs, walls and the landscaping create a strong sense of dignity and serenity. Other sections of the cemetery historic district encompass a part of the Old Circle; a Confederate Soldiers' plot, located between the Capito and Wehrle additions; a field for the American Legion; a potter's field and Mt. Olivet Cemetery, a Roman Catholic cemetery.

In the Old Circle and through Section 26, be watchful for the historically important family names of Miller, Ruffner, Quarrier, Dickinson, Dryden, Laidley, Clarkson, Reynolds and Summers families The layout of the lots is intricate with its intersecting curves and circles and is very high quality design and notable for its period. Certain funerary symbolism of grief and hope and a diversity of stone building material will be evident throughout the cemetery.

Bird Viewing

Founded in 1944, the Handlan Chapter of the Brooks Bird Club is the Charleston-area chapter of the Brooks Bird Club, headquartered in Wheeling. This organization is dedicated to studying birds in the Kanawha Valley. For more information contact: Russell Young at (304) 925-5668

Bird walks are held at Spring Hill Cemetery Park on Sunday mornings during peak migration seasons. Participants gather at the parking lot on Middleton Drive, below the Mausoleum at 8:00 am.

A list of species, resident or transient at Spring Hill Cemetery Park, has been compiled by members of the Handlan Chapter, Brooks Bird Club. Their brochure is available at the Spring Hill Cemetery Park office.

Link to Handlan Chapter of Brooks Bird Club

Birds of Spring Hill Cemetery & Arboretum
 

The Friends of Spring Hill Cemetery Inc.

The Friends of Spring Hill Cemetery Inc., was formed as a non-profit volunteer group in June 2001. The Friends of Spring Hill Cemetery Inc. co-operate with the City of Charleston to promote, enhance and develop Spring Hill Cemetery Park for the use and enjoyment of the public.

The Friends include members of the Spring Hill Cemetery Commission, organizations, individuals and volunteers interested in the preservation and development expressed in our mission.

Meetings

Are held monthly at the Cemetery office and are open to the public.

Contact Information

Friends of Spring Hill Cemetery Inc.
P.O. Box 453
Charleston, WV 25322-0453

Membership

Dues are for one calendar year starting in January and ending in December.
Individual $10.00; Family $15.00; Group $25.00;
Non-profit Group $20.00; Corporate $100.00; Life $200.00;
Checks should be made payable to Friends of Spring Hill Cemetery Park, Inc.

Click here to view the Davey Resource Group TreeKeeper Database

For additional information, questions or comments, please contact the Friends of Spring Hill Cemetery website at:

http://friendsofspringhillcemetery.org

Burial Database