On July 6, 2000, Greenwood Cemetery Association concluded its 100th year of service to the Douglas County community.
Members of Oak Lodge, the South Superior branch of the Odd Fellows, were the pioneers in an effort to locate a non-profit cemetery association in pursuance of Wisc. Statutes of 1898. Prior to July 6, 1900, a vast amount of effort was expended in pre-planning-location of land in a closer proximity to Superior than Woodlawn Cemetery; legal advice, platting, funding plans, obtaining estimates for clearing to prepare the land for interment.
On July 6, 1900, the Articles of Incorporation were approved by 13 members present and the document filed at 9:00 A.M. July 10, 1900 with Fred Russell, Registrar of Deeds. The Articles provided that Greenwood Cemetery Association be the corporate name; Six trustees to be elected by ballot to administer and manage the affairs of the Association - two for one year; two for two years; and two for three years; the second Thursday of July as the day for future annual meetings and election of Trustees.
The original; Board's perseverance, particularly in producing funds for the original land purchases, land clearing, roads, bridges, storage vault, water supply, etc., demonstrates and is a tribute to their extraordinary dedication and entrepreneurship. Because of pre-planning - July 22, 1900 records the first 2 burials; #1 John Henry Douglas; #2 Jarves E Macker; and July 23 - #3 Nettie Baird. Since that time over 20,000 interments are recorded. The original Boart of Trustees would be very proud to see what the cemetery is today.
The first Board purchased 23 1/3 acres July 17, 1900 from James Bardon; 16 2/3 acres November 20, 1905 from Nemadji Land Company. Subsequent purchases were 20 acres February 12, 1931 from Carl and Anne Nelson; 53.93 acres January 10, 1969 from Douglas County (East side of Tower Ave).
From Greenwoods inception many changes have taken place from the original contours and appearance of the cemetery. The ravine with its tributaries have been filled, graded for proper drain, seeded and mowed. This eliminated over a 60 year period 4 bridges (2 for team, car, or truck; 2 pedestrian); allowing for land conservation for additional gravesites, and present manicured image. This project was completed in 1984 in the area abutting Soldiers' Circle.
Augmenting the Soldiers' Plat of 2 acres acquired in 1900, and in which Soldiers' Circle was dedicated in 1903, Douglas County purchased in 1961 a 480 grave section known as Soldiers' Square. The 500 gravesites in Soldier' Circle were filled in 1962, and the first soldier buried in Soldiers' Square was Paul Mathison on March 13, 1962. The first burial in the Circle was John Nelson on October 14, 1900.
In 1972 Douglas County purchased 480 additional gravesites immediately north of Soldiers' Square. The total area is renamed Veterans Memorial Park - thus eliminating the name Soldiers' Square.
A dedication ceremony was held Memorial Day (May 28, 1990) for the new monument and flagpole donated by American Legion Post #65 from remaining funds in the liquidation of this WWI Post. The Douglas County Veterans Officer handled all details in the purchase of both, and the cemetery donated the cost for foundations.
An interesting sidelight was an item in the Superior Morning Leader dated May 27, 1902.
"A special train will run over Eastern Friday, Memorial Day, which will give people an excellent opportunity to visit Greenwood. Several trips will be made during the day beginning 9:30 in the morning for 25 cents per round trip, and 10 cents from South End. The improvements recently made and constantly ongoing has made it one of the most attractive places at the Head of the Lakes. All military exercises will be held at the military portion of the cemetery and will be beautifully decorated with flowers and flags."
Evening Telegram - November 21, 1903 item headlined - "SUPERIOR CEMETERY, DEDICATED TO THE SOLDIERS" (Edited for space reasons)
"Superior has one of the very few cemeteries in the country which are owned by the GAR, and are platted. Alonzo Palmer Post now has the deed to soldiers' field in Greenwood Cemetery. As far as is known by the Superior Post, theirs is the only one in the country to hold the deed to a cemetery in which none but the bodies of veterans can be buried." "The circular field is 300ft in diameter for soldiers of the Spanish and great Civil War." "A finely ornamented piece of statuary is planned for the center of the plot." "The soldiers plan to beautify their cemetery and make it one of the finest anywhere."
Sidney E. Tubbs and O.A. Britton where the initiators in establishing the Soldiers' plat (including the Circle), for the Alonzo Palmer Post. On May 17, 1927, to show good will, transferred all interest they had back to Greenwood Cemetery.
A condensed history follows which describes, particularly the first year, the vision and optimism of the Board of Trustees and their accomplishments. They followed thru on their decisions despite cash flow problems each week. Treasury short anywhere from $10 to $300. Daily wage appears to have been $1.75 per day (8 or 10 hrs?) as several paychecks made out of .88? - apparently ? day worked. $2 for team; one entry for plowing/harrowing 1 acre - $4; contract for clearing - unspecified. It must be remembered, this was horse and hearse period - practically a full day for funeral, transport of deceased, and return of relatives and friends to home base.
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