Forty acres of land were initially purchased to develop the cemetery on August 28, 1852 at a cost of $500. Developers intended the cemetery to be a place of celebration, not only for the dead but the living as well. They envisioned that families could have picnics and gatherings amid the manicured gardens of the cemetery. Cemetery developers opted to name the grounds via a raffle. Many names were placed in a hat and Elmwood was chosen. Soon thereafter an order was placed for a large number of elm trees to be planted amongst the mighty oaks that dotted the grounds. The first burial at the grounds occurred on July 15, 1853. Approximately 75,000 individuals have been interred at the grounds since then. The cemetery is expected to hold another 15,000 persons.