Maple Hill Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1857-1890)

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Maple Hill Cemetery

Section of 1873 map of Hennepin County showing Maple Hill Cemetery in the city of St. Anthony (later Minneapolis).
Neighborhood/s: Beltrami, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year Established: 1857
Year Ended: 1890
Founded by: Robert W. Cummings
Historic Function: Cemetery/burial grounds
Current Function: Park

Beltrami Minneapolis Hennepin

Maple Hill Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1857-1890)
(44.997814,-93.243526warning.png"44.997814.-93.243526" is not a number. )

Established as Maple Hill Cemetery in 1857, closed in 1890. In 1935, the area was called Folwell Playground. This area has also been called Maple Hill Park and is currently called Beltrami Park.

By 1906 the non-denominational cemetery had been abandoned and debate raged over care of it. Neighbors fed up with inaction hitched up the horses one night determined to do something about it.

The next day the city woke to find the cemetery cleared not only of debris but of all the tombstones as well which had been dragged off and tossed into a ditch. City officials were outraged, especially since a civil war veterans memorial and been dragged into the ditch as well. They determined that those involved would be caught and prosecuted, but until then decided that the land would make a wonderful park (no one was ever convicted).

Many of the bodies were removed from the cemetery to Lakewood Cemetery, among others. However, since it was used as a potters field many bodies remain to this day. Several gravestones that remain in the park serve as a reminder of its days as a cemetery.

"Although it is of record that the earliest settlers of St. Anthony interred some of their dead in a small tract near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street Southeast, the first cemetery whose line is unbroken to within a comparatively recent day was Maple Hill. In 1849 Robert W. Cummings obtained some land from the government in St. Anthony township, and reserved a tract for a cemetery along what was afterward Broadway. The dedication of these burial grounds as Maple Hill Cemetery in February, 1857, gave the people, especially the early settlers of the east side, a resting place for their dead which was not disturbed for more than forty years. By that time, it is said that no less than 5,000 bodies had been laid away on the slopes of Maple Hill. In 1890, with the increase of population, the health authorities forbade further interments. The following year the city council condemned land on either side of the cemetery for street purposes, removals of the bodies commenced, and eventually the tract was incorporated into the east system of parks. The pretty little park bounded by Broadway, Fillmore, Polk and Summer streets is what remains of the old burial grounds."
~History of Minneapolis, Vol. 1 by Rev. Marion Daniel Shutter


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