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History Heaven
8/4/2014
When Cincinnati merchant Peter Neff’s wife died in 1844, he wouldn’t bury her in the city’s crowded, dismal graveyards. A year later, Neff was among the founders of Spring Grove Cemetery, which would become a model for cemetery design and a National Historic Landmark.
When Cincinnati merchant Peter Neff’s wife, Isabella, died in 1844, he wouldn’t bury her in the city’s crowded, dismal graveyards. A year later, Neff was among the founders of Spring Grove Cemetery <www.springgrove.org>. It would become a model for cemetery design, a National Historic Landmark—and in 1847, a suitable haven for Isabella.

Beauty in the Grove: Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum (Orange Frazer Press) shows and tells the story of the 733-acre grounds with 15 lakes, a waterfall, fountains, 1,200 tree and plant species, and thousands of monuments and tombstones. Author and cemetery historian Phil Nuxhall shares his passion for a place he says “emulates a heavenly vision of eternity.”

Family Tree Magazine: Have you always loved cemeteries?
Phil Nuxhall: I never really paid attention to cemeteries until about 10 years ago when I started walking in Spring Grove. I slowly started paying attention to the names, the symbolism and iconography, and the architecture of the mausoleums and beauty of the landscape.

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