For more than 150 years, Woodward Hill Cemetery has been one of Lancaster’s most significant historic sites.  As the final resting place of numerous prominent citizens including President James Buchanan, with a layout reflecting Victorian ideals of landscape design and containing fine examples of funerary monuments, Woodward Hill’s national significance was recognized in 2005 when the cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (see link to Registration Form below).

Woodward Hill was the largest and most elaborate of the new rural cemeteries established in Lancaster during the mid-nineteenth century.  Rural cemeteries were designed as vital open spaces or public parks for the community; they provided a place for recreation as well as veneration of the dead.  As a final resting place for illustrious citizens, Woodward Hill is a “museum” of notable clergy, educators, civic leaders, and veterans.

Today the cemetery occupies 32 acres and contains approximately 13,750 grave markers ranging in date from the late eighteenth century to the present day.  They illustrate the 200-year evolution of funerary art, sculpture and associated symbolism.  In addition to tombstones, there are numerous obelisks and mausoleums representing Victorian, neoclassical, and early modern architectural styles.