1605 Oak Hill Avenue

Following the devastation of Quantrill’s Raid in 1863, Lawrence survivors searched for ways to memorialize those killed in the attack. In 1864, the mayor urged the city to build a new cemetery since most raid victims were buried in Pioneer Cemetery which was far from town and difficult to maintain. A local newspaper editor helped gain public support for the project when he wrote that raid victims buried at Pioneer Cemetery were forgotten and their graves left unmarked.

Early in 1865, the city purchased land for a new cemetery. Instead of a simple, open cemetery, Lawrence’s city commissioners selected a rural cemetery design, with rolling hills, trees, and curving carriage paths which was the popular trend at the time. The new cemetery created a park-like space for the public. Oak Hill Cemetery soon became an important place to commemorate that terrible day in August 1863.For many years, citizens sponsored elaborate Decoration Day observances at Oak Hill, and by 1895, a local committee had raised funds to erect a large monument to honor the raid victims. The city continued to improve the cemetery through the late 1890’s by bringing city water to the site constructing a receiving vault and building a sidewalk from the downtown area.

There are so many individuals buried in Oak Hill who were influential during territorial days and the state’s formation that William Allen White once call the cemetery, “The Kansas Arlington.”

For information on cemetery services, please contact the Parks and Recreation Administrative Offices at (785) 832-3450.


James H. Lane (1814-1866)
-First U.S. Senator from Kansas, 1861-1866

John Speer (1817-1906)
-Member of the Territorial Legislature and abolitionist newspaper editors. Two of Speer’s sons died in Quantrill’s Raid.

Lucy Hobbs Taylor (1833-1910)
-Taylor was the first woman to have graduated from a dental college as Doctor of Dental Surgery in the U.S., and the first woman dentist in Kansas.

Charles (1817-1892) and Mary Langston (1836-1915)
-Grandparents of black poet and writer, Langston Hughes, who lived in Lawrence during his youth.

John P. Usher (1816-1889)
-Usher was President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of Interior, 1863-1865

Dr. Charles L. Robinson (1818-1894)
-Robinson helped found the City of Lawrence and was Governor of Kansas from 1861-1863

Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen (1885-1974)
-Allen was a well-known University of Kansas basketball coach from 1907-1909, and from 1919-1956

Cemetery Rules/Regulations 26K pdf

Oak Hill Cemetery Map

click above to access map