This cemetery wasn't supposed to be a burial ground, yet 11,000 people have found their final resting place here in the Fairmont Downtown Historical District. An abbey, a chapel, and crypts rest on the 43 acres of land, as well as the burial plots. Many founders and prominent residents of Fairmont are buried. It was place on the National Register of Historic Places in April 2004.
Backstory and Context
The citizens of Fairmont in the 1890s were pretty macabre evidenced by the scavenging of bones during the exhuming process for the Smith and McKinney Building when a body was not properly taken care of right away1. The skeletal remains were the hottest attraction for gawkers and baked in sun for days until someone from the cemetery came to retrieve what was left1. The cemetery became more and more popular as the 19th century wore on and finally, Colonol A. Howard Fleming with a band of realtors decided to endow Woodlawn "as a perpetual care cemetery to legitimize it in 1930. The realtors thought it would be a good idea to shut down Woodlawn and sell the 400 lots off, even though they thought the endowment of funds would guarantee that the cemetery and its facilities would be kept in a pristine condition1.
The Abbey at Woodlawn sits atop a ridge, overlooking the cemetery. Inside, there are 200 crypts2. Built in 1929 in the Egyptian Revival style with a small entrance (portico) at the summit of steps2. This entrance is supported by pillars with a transom above barred doors, but sides of the building are adorned with stained glass windows2.