The Quietest Place in Minneapolis

A Visit to Lakewood Cemetery



Minneapolis nobility left many statues and elaborate tombstones. Here is the section for the Loring family.

Today we drove across town to a tranquil park in south Minneapolis to check out the Lakeview Chapel. We were suprised to find such an expansive, park-like cemetery. Lakewood Cemetery is over a century old, yet it remains an ‘active’ cemetery with room  to serve the dead for decades to come. It’s a real gem — I have lived in the Cities for nearly thirty years and had no idea such a place was hidden in a bustling neighborhod. The park is shaded and carefully tended with not a sign of vandalism or neglect. I understand people hold weddings at Lakewood. As odd as that sounds, after walking under the trees, I can understand why.

We wandered on foot on a warm July afternoon, darting between the shadows of arching oaks. We covered a mere fraction of the total area. I  hope to go back again.


The Lakewood Chapel

We found out the Chapel is closed on Sundays. How strange!

Its external architecture is inspired by the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. We’ve been to that grand place, so we were looking forward to see how Lakewood compared. I can tell you it has the same shaped domes, but there are no minarettes. No doubt the staid Minneapolitans of 1900 would have nothing too ‘sultanate.’


There are a lot of statues about the place. Several, especially of the children, were decorated with flowers. One little girl had a rosary dangling at her side.


We wandered into areas dedicated to people who died in service. Pictured above are statues from the Civil War and fallen firemen areas. The section along the outside street perimenter has dead politicians (Hubert Humphrey, Rudy Perpich and Wellstone, among others)


Lakewood is all about symbolism. The place offers ‘symbolism tours’ which I really hope to take on my return visit. I could see many masonic symbols on headstones. There were dozens of stone urns, some draped entirely or partially covered, symbolizing old age and sorrow. The Lily-of-the-Valley, pictured above, means life and happiness. And an intact rose in full bloom indicates a person in their prime is buried there, perhaps a young parent.



Erastus died in 1882. He was eleven days old.

It’s always sad to see the graves of children. Lakewood has a ‘Babyland.’ I chose not to go there.



We wrapped up our afternoon by stepping into the silent and cool mausoleum. There is some beautiful stained glass and mosaic work inside, a surprise and delight for a modern building. Angels and saints provide the only color to the somber interior.


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