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Tampa’s Oaklawn Cemetery placed on National Register of Historic Places

Tampa's Oaklawn #Cemetery placed on National Register of Historic Places  #history #genealogy

  • TAMPA — Oaklawn Cemetery, Tampa’s first public graveyard, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The National Park Service listed Oaklawn and the neighboring St. Louis Cemetery, just north of downtown Tampa, on Sept. 25.
  • “There’s really no part of Tampa’s history that’s not touched by Oaklawn Cemetery.”
  • Historians count Oaklawn among the few U.S. cemeteries where slaves and slave owners can be found in the same plots.
  • Faithful to each other in that relation in life, in death they are not separated – – Stranger, consider and be wiser – – In the grave all human distinction of race or caste mingle together in one common dust – – In 1874, the Leonardy family donated land adjacent…

TAMPA — Oaklawn Cemetery, Tampa’s first public graveyard, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

TAMPA — Oaklawn Cemetery, Tampa’s first public graveyard, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Park Service listed Oaklawn and the neighboring St. Louis Cemetery, just north of downtown Tampa, on Sept. 25.

“It’s very good news,” said Shelby Bender, who co-authored the book, Tampa’s Historic Cemeteries. “There’s really no part of Tampa’s history that’s not touched by Oaklawn Cemetery.”

When Oaklawn was founded in 1850, Tampa had not yet been incorporated as a city. Its population was about 500.

But from the beginning, Oaklawn was designated as a public burial ground for “White and Slave, Rich and Poor.” Its 3 acres at 606 E Harrison St. are home to more than 1,500 graves, including those of 13 mayors, one governor, two Florida Supreme Court justices, as well as slaves, veterans of seven wars, victims of yellow fever epidemics and a couple of Cuban pirates.

Still, exactly who’s buried where has been a persistent question. Many early graves were marked with nothing more than carved cypress markers that rotted away a long time ago. During the Civil War an 8-inch shell landed amid the graves during a naval bombardment of Tampa in 1862. And after the war, an original map of the cemetery went missing.

Oaklawn also contains two mass graves — one for 102 soldiers and early settlers at Fort Brooke, which was abandoned before Oaklawn was dedicated, and another for at…

Tampa’s Oaklawn Cemetery placed on National Register of Historic Places

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