Over 100 years ago, Bellefontaine Cemetery was more than just a home for the departed. Staff maintained certain parts of our landscape as a farm, growing a number of fruits on the Cemetery’s property. In the early days of Bellefontaine’s history, burials provided only a portion of the business needed to sustain a large, landscape cemetery. In response, Bellefontaine staff maintained a fruit tree orchard. It is likely that the Cemetery also produced berry crops such as raspberries and blackberries. The harvests were sold at local markets and on-site to raise additional capital needed to sustain Bellefontaine’s growth. To honor the rich history beyond our notable burials, we have planted a small orchard at the south end of the Cemetery again featuring apples, pears, cherries, peaches, and apricots.
Additionally, a small chestnut orchard was planted. This orchard features three rows of chestnut trees with elderberry, currant, gooseberry, raspberry, and blackberry planted between rows. We even have two bee hives to aid in pollination of our fruit crops!
Though we may not need these fruiting plants for the same reason as our predecessors, it serves as an homage to the hard work and dedication our original staff members showed at Bellefontaine. Without their commitment to do what they needed to keep the Cemetery flourishing for over 160 years, we would not be able to provide the serene, wildlife-rich environment that we have at Bellefontaine Cemetery today.