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
Lakewood is founded
A small group of influential city leaders begin envisioning a grand, garden cemetery in Minneapolis that is non-profit and open to all.
A woman named Maggie Menzel becomes the first person buried at Lakewood.
Lakewood acquires nearby greenhouses and begins growing flowers for the cemetery. One of the greenhouses is the oldest operating in Minnesota.
Streetcars to Lakewood
A streetcar connects Lakewood to downtown and a “Public Comfort” building is constructed for visitors to “freshen up” after the dusty trip.
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
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’s elegant new Administration Building opens with room for more staff to serve a growing city.
First 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
Former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey is buried at Lakewood.
First 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
Lakewood’s history book “Haven in the Heart of the City” is published.
Expanded Memorial Day
Lakewood welcomes the public to an expanded Memorial Day Celebration – a beloved tradition that continues today.
Garden Mausoleum completed
The striking Garden Mausoleum is completed and honored with national and international awards for its extraordinary modern architecture.
First Lantern Lighting Celebration
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
Lakewood debuts its Music in the Chapel concert series which features a wide mix of diverse music genres.
Living Memory Tree debuts
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.