Forest Hill Cemetery

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Exploration Badge
Part of the SummerGame2017 Game

This week’s Arbor Explorer badge takes you to one of the most historical, and peaceful spots in town: The Forest Hill Cemetery at Observatory and Geddes adjacent to the Arboretum and near central campus. We know earning badges are fun, but keep in mind that this is a sacred place for thousands of Ann Arbor families so please be respectful when visiting. Funerals are possible every day of the week but Sunday.

There is street parking in the area, and bus access. It is possible to drive into the cemetery, but again please keep in mind potential funerals or people who may be visiting a gravesite. If you’re able please consider walking in to the cemetery – the paths are mostly paved, but there are inclines/declines and some rough patches.

You will need to use this important map to navigate Forest Hill. A sense of direction and the ability to discern the shapes of grassy areas will be very important.

Before the mid-1800s, formal burial in the United States was mostly restricted to the interment of bodies on or near the grounds of a church. The bell of the church would be rung to keep evil spirits at bay. Graves were laid facing east/west with the head to the west. When church services were held, the tombstones reminded the congregation of death’s inevitability. These cemeteries, with their rows of the deceased, were pretty gloomy and crowded, with little vegetation. How serious. How uncomfortable. How depressing.

BUT, as populations grew, cemeteries began to move out of the towns & cities, to beautiful rural settings. WELCOME TO FOREST HILL CEMETERY, Ann Arbor’s very own addition to this lush, green “rural cemetery movement”. This special place, like the others in the movement, was landscaped like an English garden. It was meant to provide sanctuary, solitude, quiet, and beauty, allowing a space for long walks in a peaceful setting, where history is kept alive and the deceased rest in a pleasant, lush oasis. We hope you enjoy this scenic stroll through Forest Hill’s sixty-five gorgeous acres. We guarantee you will recognize many notable names of our community, and the squirrels are quite friendly.

To begin enter Forest Hill through the historic fieldstone gateway on Observatory Street, near the corner of Geddes Avenue. You will immediately see the large Washtenaw County Civil War Memorial looming ahead of you. (It has a guy wearing a hat and holding a gun on top.) Originally erected in 1914, it was moved here from the courthouse lawn at Main & Huron Streets when the new courthouse was built in 1954. Go up and read what it says. Fill in the following 2 blanks to get your game code “In memory of the _____ and _____ of Washtenaw County…”.

USE MAP TO REACH AREA 14: To guide you look for the Area 13 on your map - it’s an island filled with members of the HENNING family (HINT - it's the image on this badge). In Block 14, look for the tall monument that says TICKNOR. It’s an older headstone and the writing is worn down. Dr. Benajah Ticknor holds the record of being the first permanent resident of Forest Hill, back in 1858. He was a US naval surgeon who retired here in Ann Arbor and had a lovely cobblestone home built for his family. Whenever you visit Cobblestone Farm on Packard Rd, you are visiting the home of Dr. Ticknor! When you are facing the TICKNOR monument, look behind it and you will see a small flag and an extra special DAR Daughters of the American Revolution) marker planted on the grave of a revolutionary war soldier. This soldier was the father of the woman who married Dr. Ticknor’s brother. Is that confusing enough for you? Just tell us the name of the soldier for your second game code.

USE MAP TO REACH AREA M: The best route is to go as far left as you can towards the Arboretum. You will know you are in the area when you see the 8PK hill with the May family mausoleum on top. If you visit on a sunny afternoon, chances are good that you will spot deer resting up on the hill in the 8PK area. Section M is where U of M legend Fielding Yost is currently resting. Hailed as the “Father of Michigan athletics”, Michigan Stadium was built on his watch, as well as Yost Ice Arena and the University golf course. There isn’t enough space in the summer game to talk about his football achievements. You will find his grave close to the road, facing down the hill towards the H/87. In front of his headstone is his epitaph that reads “I WISH TO REST WHERE THE SPIRIT OF MICHIGAN IS WARMEST”. Find the epitaph, read it, and turn around. Behind you is a headstone with a Michigan M in the corner and – wait a minute! – another famous U of M sports guy is buried there! Your third game code is the name of the other guy as it appears on his headstone. If you don’t know this legend, ask an old school football fan about him.

USE MAP TO REACH AREA 87: You are standing above H/Area 87, but you want the other section end close to area 69 and area G. So take the path from Yost towards section A – you will eventually see the fence around the cemetery at section A and you will know you’re in the right spot. Turn right at Section A and go around G (you will see the lovely Vaughan Family monument as you take the curve) to the front of this part of Area 87 and then look for the large WOODMANSEE family stone, nestled between a pair of cedar trees. The Woodmansee family lived on Geddes Avenue, just east of Forest Hill, and their land eventually became part of the cemetery. When Caroline Woodmansee, the matriarch of the family, died of pneumonia in 1902, her obituary said she “was one of the best loved women in the city. She has been a woman full of charity for everyone and has been most highly respected by all.” Say hi to lovely Caroline while you are here. On the family headstone, there are two large names. The top is WOODMANSEE. The bottom name, is the name of the family that Caroline’s daughter, Cora, married into. The bottom name is also your fourth game code!

USE MAP TO REACH AREA 44. The map makes it look like Area 44 is separated but it’s really not – look for it at the edge of 45 and you can’t miss it. Welcome to the Kempf family mausoleum! Fancy, huh? Face the front door like you’re going to knock on it (do you think anyone would answer?) and then turn around. You will see the headstone of Emma Perry who died in 1912. She is buried between her husband and son, who both happen to have the same first name. This name is your fifth game code!

USE MAP TO REACH AREA 38: Last but not least, we bring you to area 38, where Johann Georg Müller was buried in 1858. Poor Mr. Müller was killed at the corner of Hill and Packard when a log fell off his horse-drawn cart and crushed him. His carved marble marker actually shows a depiction of the accident. Be sure to check this out and then join the rest of us in wondering WHY his widow chose to put this on his headstone. Johan’s headstone is older and white so look for the reddish Miller family headstones - Johann is close by. For your very last game code, look behind Johann’s grave, across the little road to the next section. There is a family stone with a verb on it, which is very appropriate for a cemetery. This family name/verb is your final game code.

800 SummerGame2017 point bonus when earned

This badge has been awarded to 132 players

Game CodeDescriptionEarned On
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