1605 Oak Hill Avenue

After Quantrill’s Raid in 1863, Lawrence survivors began to search 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 and it was far from town and difficult to maintain. A local newspaper editor helped gain public support of the project when he wrote that raid victims buried at Pioneer were forgotten and their graves unmarked.

Early in 1865, the city purchased land for a new cemetery. Instead of a simple, open cemetery like Pioneer, Lawrence’s city commissioners wanted a rural cemetery, which was the popular trend in cemetery design at the time. Rural cemeteries were garden cemeteries landscaped to show human interpretations of nature as art. Graceful and plentiful trees were fundamental to rural cemetery design, as were large plots for the display of grand monuments. Oak Hill’s original entrance on the south had an elegant and decorative cast iron gate and fence, and parts of it remain in today’s entrance.

Oak Hill Cemetery became an important place for those who wished 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 the raid’s victims. The city continued to further improve the cemetery through the late 1890’s by bringing city water to the site, 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