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We’re celebrating 150 years—and a long history of new traditions.

Please join us!

In 2021, Lakewood is celebrating 150 years of service to the community with a year of experiences and events honoring the past and sparking ideas for the future. We hope you will join us!

Lakewood is one of the most storied and extraordinary urban cemeteries in America. From our founding by a few visionary pioneers in 1871 to our expansive public programming today, we have always been a place where people come together: to celebrate, honor, mourn, reflect and remember what’s sacred in life. This year, for our 150th anniversary, we invite you to join us for that and so much more!

Celebrating 150 Years

Take a walk through time.

So much has changed in 150 years—in Minneapolis and at Lakewood.  Check out our timeline for some notable happenings. And take a deeper dive into our history to learn more.

  • Lakewood is founded

    Lakewood brochure cover from 1871

    A small group of influential city leaders begin envisioning a grand, garden cemetery in Minneapolis that is non-profit and open to all.

  • First burial

    Maggie Menzel becomes the first person buried at Lakewood.

    A woman named Maggie Menzel becomes the first person buried at Lakewood.

  • Greenhouses acquired

    Lakewood Greenhouse 1888

    Lakewood acquires nearby greenhouses and begins growing flowers for the cemetery. One of the greenhouses is the oldest operating in Minnesota.

  • Streetcars to Lakewood

    Rest station at Lakewood Cemtery

    A streetcar connects Lakewood to downtown and a “Public Comfort” building is constructed for visitors to “freshen up” after the dusty trip.

  • Crematory built

    Lakewood Crematory

    Lakewood embraces cremation early on and builds one of the the state’s first crematories. Today, more than 55% of Minnesotans choose cremation.

  • First funeral at Memorial Chapel

    Memorial Chapel

    The first funeral service is held in Lakewood’s new spectacular Memorial Chapel – which rivals the great Byzantine churches in Europe with its mosaic artistry and craftsmanship – had the largest mosaic interior in the U.S. at the time it opened.

  • Administration Building opens

    Lakewood Administration building

    Lakewood’s elegant new Administration Building opens with room for more staff to serve a growing city.

  • First Memorial Park

    Memorial Park

    Lakewood creates its first Memorial Park, a trend in cemetery landscape design that feels more “park like” with all markers flush with the ground.

  • Hubert H. Humphrey funeral

    Funeral at Lakewood

    Former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey is buried at Lakewood.

  • First cremation “gardens”

    Cremation Gardens

    Lakewood’s first cremation “gardens” are established, dedicated solely to the burial of cremated remains, signifying the growing popularity of cremation in the U.S.

  • History book published

    Haven in the Heart of the City: book

    Lakewood’s history book “Haven in the Heart of the City” is published.

  • Expanded Memorial Day

    Military carring flags on Memorial Day

    Lakewood welcomes the public to an expanded Memorial Day Celebration – a beloved tradition that continues today.

  • Garden Mausoleum completed

    The Garden Mausoleum at Lakewood

    The striking Garden Mausoleum is completed and honored with national and international awards for its extraordinary modern architecture.

  • First Lantern Lighting Celebration

    Lantern Lighting at Lakewood

    Lakewood holds its first annual Lantern Lighting Celebration, a moving community event for families and the public to remember loved ones.

  • Music in the Chapel debuts

    Music in the Chapel debuts

    Lakewood debuts its Music in the Chapel concert series which features a wide mix of diverse music genres.

  • Living Memory Tree debuts

    Tieing a ribbon on the Living Memory Tree

    The first ribbon is added to the Living Memory Tree, which offers anyone the opportunity to honor a loved one at Lakewood in a simple communal way.

  • Midsummer Memory Mandalas begin

    Mandala from above

    The first Midsummer Memory Mandalas experience takes place with a large public art installation and individual hands-on workshops to transform grief into beauty.

  • Covid-19 support and events

    Man assembling a lantern

    During Covid-19 quarantine, Lakewood expands programming to offer much-needed support with art therapy, virtual grief meditations, and incorporated social-distancing into events such as our lantern lighting ceremony.

  • 150th Celebration

    150th Celebration

    Lakewood celebrates its 150th anniversary by opening our doors and inviting people from all walks of life to share their stories and get inspired about new ways to bring more meaning and creativity to memorialization.

150 Trees logo

Help us restore our urban forest

Your gift will help us replace the 700+ trees we’ve lost to the deadly emerald ash borer and create a more resilient, biodiverse woodland.  Our master plan calls for the addition of more than 25 types of trees over the next few years, and with your help, we can make that happen.


Join us for stories.

So many of us have a memory or connection with Lakewood. We’ll be collecting (and sharing) these stories throughout the year. Here are a few stories and then please share your own.

I lost my mother early in life was raised in part by my grandmother for those critical years after my mother’s  passing. I can remember Grandma and I would make weekly trips to Lakewood to care for the flowers planted in the family urn. Grandma told me I was in charge of watering. I grabbed the watering can and carefully calculated my path… Keep reading

Mandala made of leaves and grass

For most of my adult life I drove or walked by Lakewood not knowing it was a place I could enter. When I finally did pass through the massive gates, I was amazed at the beauty within—and how comfortable and welcomed I felt. Of all the experiences I’ve had at Lakewood since then, probably the most meaningful was participating in… Keep reading

Do you value history, beauty and nature? 

The Lakewood Heritage Foundation  is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that funds the preservation and restoration of our landscape, art, architecture and public spaces, and helps make our educational programming more accessible.

We welcome donations from anyone interested in maintaining this precious place—for the benefit of all.

Learn more

Come for an event.

Come explore. Come learn. Come celebrate with us!  Our doors are open and we are ready to receive you.

Sign Up for the Lakewood Newsletter

Lakewood celebrates its past, present and future through our monthly newsletter. Sign up to be the first to know about limited-capacity events and to stay engaged with the latest thinking and practices around death and remembering.

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