Why I love Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum

In my congressional run, I made a video featuring Woodland Cemetery, one of my favorite places in Dayton. That it’s just four blocks away helps too.

Besides being the tallest point in Dayton, it’s absolutely breathtaking at the crack of dawn when I like to either run or walk through the final resting places of every major name in Dayton- from Dunbar and Deeds to Bombeck, Patterson and Wright.

Founded in 1841, Woodland Cemetery is one of the nation’s five oldest rural/garden cemeteries and a unique cultural, botanical and educational resource in the heart of Dayton, Ohio.

via Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum.

However, a few weeks ago, my secret entrance, a hole in the fence off an alley off Wyoming was repaired. That hole had been there for more than 23 years- and was the South Parkians secret short cut since the big gates by the pump house on Wyoming have been locked at least that long.

I called Dave FitzSimmons, the CEO of Woodland to ask if there might be a way to open the gates to the regular walkers, half expecting a big no. Instead, a week later, he sent me a note saying they’ve put a new lock on the gate and have keys for neighborhood walkers.

Note to most business owners, this is the kind of customer service (and I’m not dead yet) that makes people believe that your brand is better than others. So, if you’re a South Park walker- who misses our old hole in the fence, get in touch with me- I have a key to the pearly wrought iron gates for you. [UPDATE 10 DEC 2010 I now have keys to the Waldo Street Gate as well]

If you’re going to die anytime soon, and are looking for a cemetery that is more than a cemetery to the community- I can’t recommend any better cemetery than Woodland. However, let’s hope a casket isn’t on your holiday wish list- although he has creches for sale in the new lookout point construction.

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8 Responses

  1. Jeff December 18, 2009 / 4:44 pm
    Since Dayton lacks true urban parks like Goodale or Schiller Parks in Columbus or Eden Park or Burnett Woods in Cincinnati (and I could go on & on but those should be familiar Ohio examples) you all have to settle for a cemetery.   Typical.  You  know, it is possible to have both, but history was not kind to Dayton as the earlier generations that provided the great urban parks in other cities did not do so in Dayton.  And Hills and Dales does not count since its a just a big golf course, & not really in town, either.
  2. David Esrati December 18, 2009 / 4:58 pm

    @Jeff- I call horsehockey. Starting at Riverscape, over to Deeds park, up to Kettering fields over to Island Park- through up to Wegerzyn- up the path ending at Sinclair park- it’s a long ribbon along the river.

    We’ve got South Park Green and Burns Jackson, right here in South Park. There are parks all over- including by Cleveland Elementary- by Lohrey Center- with a disc golf course, Walnut Hills has a hideaway…. I think we do just fine.

  3. Jeff December 18, 2009 / 5:23 pm
    South Park Green comes close to what I am thinking about, as does Cooper Park.  
     
  4. jane December 18, 2009 / 8:50 pm
    Thanks David, Woodland is a favorite of mine too. I incorporated it into my run shortly after moving to Dayton, and the view has given my a new perspective on living in the Downtown area.
  5. David Esrati December 10, 2010 / 9:33 am

    Update- I now have keys to the Waldo street entrance as well. Stop by my office

  6. Zak Gillman December 11, 2010 / 3:59 am
    Is this open to anyone?  Caroline and I enjoy early evening walks and have nearly been locked in on numerous occasions.  It’d be swell having the ability to let ourselves out, or to let ourselves in for a later-in-the-evening walk.
  7. David Esrati December 11, 2010 / 8:30 am

    @Zak- yep- the keys are available to anyone (who doesn’t look like a zombie or a grave robber). Unfortunately- the initial set of keys ran out- and I had to get them duplicated at $3 each- so I’m asking for donations to keep us in keys.

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