In Columbus Alive's latest guide to day trips through Ohio, writer Kevin Elliott visits the South Side landmark.
I’m often met with bewilderment when I recommend a cemetery as a place for a leisurely trip — especially in a time when death is on the minds of many. But since acquiring an Ancestry account several years back, I’ve often found myself in a long-forgotten graveyard in somewhere like New Vienna, Ohio, searching for my great-great-grandfather on some random Saturday, only to find a grandfather five times removed. Or, to the disdain of my faithful traveling partner, driving miles off-route to visit the grave of Jack Kerouac and drop off a pen, or the grave of Sun Ra to drop off some existential vibes. Communing with the dead, wandering through the sacred, unknown lives of people you’ll never know, is, to a degree, a morbid fascination, sure. But it’s also a chance for mediation, reflection and reveling in being alive.
After all, you have a captive audience and the social distancing just hits differently.
At Green Lawn Cemetery on Columbus’ South Side, with 360 acres, and more than 154,000 interments, you have the ear of much of our city’s rich history. It is, in retrospect, Columbus’ first park, and a place you can spend hours walking aimlessly, or intently, absorbing the history, admiring the art and identifying natural elements that abound.
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