1840 – 1854

Establishment of Cleveland’s First Jewish Cemetery.

On August 6th 1840, less than two years after the first group of Jews arrived from Unsleben, Bavaria, one acre of land was acquired on Willet Street (now known as Fulton Rd) for burial purposes by the Israelitic Society, soon to be known as Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, Cleveland’s first synagogue. The first burial took place on the very next day when Mr. Alexander Kahnweiler who had been traveling through the area needed to be buried. In 1854, Cleveland’s second oldest congregation The Temple-Tifereth Israel acquired a half-acre lot next to Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple’s Willet Street cemetery.


20 Acres Acquired on Mayfield Road.

The Temple-Tifereth Israel purchased 20 acres on Mayfield Road for the development of a spacious garden style cemetery as the current Willet Street location was approaching capacity. The first burial at the new Mayfield Cemetery took place in 1890.


United Jewish Cemeteries is Formed.

Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple and The Temple-Tifereth Israel formed the United Jewish Cemeteries Association to manage the cemeteries. This association established a Board of Governors, by-laws, and engaged the well-known Evers firm to design the cemetery. That parklike design has continued to be maintained throughout the opening of additional sections.


New Office – Caretakers Residence Built.

A new caretaker’s home and office was built. This house, now over 120 years old, replaced an existing structure that was destroyed by fire in 1899. At the time it was common for the caretaker, often known as a Sexton, and later Superintendent, to live with his family on the grounds of the cemetery.

House 2749 Mayfield


Chapel Built.

The first new structure – a chapel, was built under the direction of architect Israel Lehman of Lehman and Schmidt. This is the same firm that would soon design the new Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple at Scoville and E. 25th in 1886, as well as their new Euclid and E. 82nd street location in 1912. The Octangle structure occupied the space now known as the circle (section O) until being demolished circa 1940.


Family Mausoleums Added.

The first family mausoleum was built in 1904 by the Moses Hayes Family. Today there are thirteen family mausoleums along the western property line and three at the northern east property line within section 11. These mausoleums along with several monuments within the cemetery, provide a tribute to many of Cleveland’s early settlers that contributed to its industrial strength.


Streetcar Service with a Funeral Car Was Provided Into the Cemetery.

As the popularity of what would become Cleveland Heights grew, the options for transportation to the cemetery increased. In 1907, a rail line from Euclid Avenue up the Mayfield Road was built. A stop was included at the gate to the cemetery, which then extended into the cemetery and went all the way to the chapel. What’s more, this transportation also included transport of the casket itself. Service into the cemetery is thought to have ended in 1926.

funeral car


Challenges for Additional Burial Space is Addressed.

Faced with the increasing amount of pre-need sales, the long-term availability of space at Mayfield was diminishing. Therefore, the difficult decision was made to limit future sale of burial lots and to release them solely to members of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, and The Temple-Tifereth Israel. In addition, after years of trying to purchase additional land to the north it became apparent that it was simply not going to happen. Therefore, the renowned architectural firm of Lovell and Lovell along with local architect Charles Coleman, were hired to design the stunning structure – the mausoleum.

Click here to read the article published in January, 1932 in Throvgh the Ages, a monthly publication, trade journal featuring the design of the mausoleum.


Mausoleum Opens.

This beautiful space built in the popular Byzantine style with stone from Alabama and Tennessee opens. The location at the northwest corner of the cemetery was built at a 45-degree angle to allow for the maximum amount of light to brighten the chapel through stained glass windows, enhancing the marble walls and bronze doors. The chapel floor and balcony include private family rooms with 88 niches and 724 locations with single and double, known as companion niches

Message above the archway leading into the Chapel reads, God will swallow up death forever and wipe away the tears from every face.


Wings Are Added to the Mausoleum, Section 1, in Preparation for Future Needs.

wo wings, as part of the original designed by Lovel and Lovel were added to the mausoleum, providing space for an additional 540 crypts and 60 Niches. As the burial of remains continued to increase an outdoor area was established with space for over 400 inurnments.
The next year the number of burials per year reached a historic amount of 156, resulting in the opening of section 1. This section was designed with grave markers being flush to the ground. By doing this the beauty of the older sections were not obstructed as you enter the cemetery.

Section 2


Section 2 Opened.

Understanding the interest in burial plots near the entrance, Section 2, was opened providing an additional space for 320 burials. This area was thoughtfully designed with a walkway through the center and graves built on an angle, thus providing a contemporary layout that compliments the balance with the older sections.


Last Section Developed.

Section 14 opens, utilizing the additional acre of land acquired in 1992 at the northern portion of the cemetery. This provided space for an additional 900 burials. This section is located between section eleven and the mausoleum, and provides a slightly elevated view of the cemetery’s older sections. The addition of this parcel along with several smaller lots at the southeast corner of the cemetery at Mayfield Road that had been acquired in 1965 brings the current acreage to 22.4 and includes 12,217 burials as of the end of 2020.