Fountain Cemetery & Veterans Memorial Chapel

History of Fostoria’s Fountain Cemetery

Fostoria Lineage Research Society re-elects Officers.

Officers were elected when 18 members of the Fostoria Lineage Research Society met at the Kaubisch Memorial Library.

The present officers were re-elected for 2010. They are Sally Riser, president; Jan Herbert, vice-president; Paul Chaney, secretary/treasurer and Jim & Pat Beeson, publicity.

Riser and Herbert presented the program on the history of Fountain Cemetery. John Potteiger, retired cemetery superintendent, was present to answer questions from the group. The present cemetery consists of 38 acres between Van Buren and Summit streets.

As of Oct. 12, there are 18,483 people interred. Felix Gonzales, working foreman of the cemetery, noted there are more people buried there than living in Fostoria, with the most recent census listing the local population at 13,931.

The original cemetery was laid out on a knoll just west of Portage Creek where Fostoria Community Hospital is today. The area is sometimes called Cemetery Hill. John Gorsuch, the original owner of the village of Risdon, donated the land for the cemetery to the Methodist Church of Risdon and it was named First Methodist Cemetery.

This site was used until 1856 when the Fostoria Cemetery was established on the site where Fountain cemetery is today. The first new graves in Fostoria Cemetery were dug in 1856 for two children of the Rev. G.W. Collier, the pastor of the Methodist Church.

In 1900 the cemetery was renamed Fountain Cemetery because of its many fountains & inspired by an article in The Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune by Jefferson Wolfe, The Lady Fountain was built in 1895. There was another fountain under what is now the Veterans Memorial Chapel. Other statues were added in the cemetery. Still standing next to the Lady Fountain is a Civil War monument built in 1910.

In 1917, Bradfield Hamilton built the main gate, including an arch and a fence. He also built the boat that is to the left of the entrance and the main mausoleum at the cemetery’s east end. The mausoleum is rarely used these days and receives few visitors. The last person interred there was in 1977.

In 1969, the World War I Doughboy statue was brought to the cemetery from the old high school building on High Street. It had been standing in the high school campus area since Armistice Day Nov. 11, 1927. There are 136 similar statues in 35 states. Fostoria’s doughboy was one of 12 in Ohio.

Potteiger shared that there are some interesting trees growing in the cemetery. There used to be two “upside down trees”, but one died in 1968 and the one remaining is in the old part of the cemetery near the Foster flag.

A unique gravestone that has attracted a lot of attention in recent years is the one that reads “Gone to Wal-Mart” It was mentioned on the Paul Harvey program (this is the gravestone of Tish Hammer).

When visiting the cemetery the row of baby graves can be seen on the west side of the cemetery. The veterans of past wars have metal markers inserted by their gravestone to signify their service in the armed forces.

The most recent addition to the cemetery is the Veterans Memorial Chapel, dedicated on Memorial Day 2004.

Fountain Cemetery still has room for growth.  All the land north of the grounds is owned by the city.

Kaubish Memorial Public Library has cemetery books, which provide information as to where the person is buried, date of death and name of the survivor. The cemetery offices have the actual records cards of the deceased. To obtain access to those records call the cemetery office for an appointment.

 

Information courtesy of Wanda Pohlman

Reprinted from Review Times, November 30, 2005

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