In 1809 seven hundred acres of land next to the Ohio River in southern Indiana was named after President James Madison. Thirty years later in 1839 the city established Springdale Cemetery, which is still being used to this day.
The landscape at Springdale Cemetery was thoughtfully planned, with terraced European style family plots on Hanging Rock Hill, and stone lined drainage ditches dating to the mid-1800s.
There’s also a Gothic Revival Chapel designed by Frederick Wallick located near the entrance of the cemetery.
However, the cemetery’s most talked about feature is probably an Italian marble statue of a woman with her hands outstretched towards the sky.
Local legends say the statue will cry tears of blood on Easter morning, and that if a person were to kiss her feet she would chase them back to their car. Like most cemetery hauntings, I don’t believe this to be true.
The statue was sculpted by artist George Grey Barnard, and placed near the graves of his parents as a memorial. His father was Dr. Joseph Barnard, a minister at the Madison Second Presbyterian Church.
Some famous graves in the cemetery include Tommy Thevenow, who played shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals, and Alois O. Bachman, Jr., who served as Lieutenant Colonel of the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.
There were also two graves I took interest in, the first of a young boy.
John James Lanier was only seven years old when he accidentally drown in the Ohio River. He was son of James Franklin Doughty Lanier, a very wealthy banker and the man behind the Lanier Mansion, which is now considered a National Historic Landmark.
Another, the largest monument in the cemetery, is that of Richard Johnson. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Johnson ended up in Madison and at his death was considered a leading manufacturer of Indiana and the wealthiest man in the city.
If you’ve been wanting to visit Springdale Cemetery, definitely do it. I will be making a trip back, because I know I probably missed a few things!