Our Towns

Forest Lawn Cemetery Nominated for National Register

BOARDMAN, Ohio – The Forest Lawn Memorial Park at 5400 Market St. here is under consideration for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

The nonsectarian cemetery, built in the early 1930s, is on land first owned, about 1800, by the Baldwin family, one of the area’s pioneering families. Before it became a cemetery, the land was owned by Hugh Bonnell, who ran a dairy farm on the property.

In the 1920s, Parkland Development Co. purchased the land to develop Forest Glen Estates. The housing project became Youngstown’s earliest automobile suburb, and was designed to be a park-like setting with revival architecture and natural landscaping blending into adjacent Mill Creek Park.

The Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board will meet tomorrow at the Ohio History Center in Columbus to review the nomination of Forest Lawn Memorial Park as well as eight other sites, including the boyhood home in New Concord of space hero John Glenn, site of the John & Annie Glenn Museum.

Should the board find that the nominations meet the criteria for listing on the National Register, it will recommend to  state historic preservation officer Burt Logan that they be forwarded to the keeper of the National Register of Historic Places for final approval.

The National Register lists places that should be preserved because of their significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture.

Forest Lawn reflects a trend of the 1920s and 1930s toward parklike cemeteries or memorial parks with grave markers flush to the ground, easing upkeep, according to the Ohio advisory board. Prominent Cleveland landscape architects William Pitkin Jr. and Seward Mott planned the drives, vistas and plantings. They worked with noted Cleveland architect Munroe Copper Jr., who designed Forest Lawn’s stone entrance gate, chapel and other architectural features.

Forest Lawn is also associated with the area’s ethnic history as an example of work done over several decades by local Italian stonemasons. Felix A. Pesa and Sons of Youngstown, founded by an Italian immigrant who became an important local masonry contractor, built the Gothic-style entrance gate; the chapel, known as the Little Church; and many other stone structures at Forest Lawn from the 1930s through 1958.

SOURCES: Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.