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Fairlawn Cemetery

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Register of Historic Places)


This cemetery wasn't supposed to be a burial ground, yet 11,000 people have found their final resting place here in the Fairmont Downtown Historical District. An abbey, a chapel, and crypts rest on the 43 acres of land, as well as the burial plots. Many founders and prominent residents of Fairmont are buried. It was place on the National Register of Historic Places in April 2004.

"Vintage photograph of Woodlawn" Courtesy of the Historic Woodlawn Cemetery.
"The Original Woodlawn Gate" Courtesy of the Historic Woodlawn Cemetery.
Article on the Endowment of the Cemetery in The Fairmont Times/ West Virginian
Continuation of the article on the Endowment of the Cemetery in The Fairmont Times/ West Virginian Courtesy of the Historic Woodlawn Cemetery.


On April 15, 1875, a young man called Joesph Hamilton slumped to the ground between the fence that divides the Hamilton and Barnes properties. He had most likely fallen off the into Mary and Elmus Hamilton's Old Sheep yard , dead from a possible accidental gunshot wound1. The family broke the ground there and buried him where he fell1. Thus, begins the Woodlawn Cemetery. Just a few years later in 1878-1879, bodies were exhumed from the Old Presbyterian Church Cemetery and found a final resting place once more at Woodlawn1. The church was purposefully razed in order to make room for a new office building and it wasn't a loss for the church because a new building had been constructed. The only people inconvenienced by demolition were the dead, including Boaz Fleming, the founding father of Fairmont, (Middle Town at that time) and his wife1

The citizens of Fairmont in the 1890's were pretty macabre evidenced by the scavenging of bones during the exhuming process for the Smith and McKinney Building when a body was not properly taken care of right away1. The skeletal remains were the hottest attraction for gawkers and baked in sun for days until someone from the cemetery came to retrieve what was left1. The cemetery became more and more popular as the 19th century wore on and finally, Colonol A. Howard Fleming with a band of realtors decided to endow Woodlawn "as a perpetual care cemetery to legitimize it in 1930. The realtors thought it would be a good idea to shut down Woodlawn and sell the 400 lots off, even though they thought the endowment of funds would guarantee that the cemetery and its facilities would be kept in a pristine condition1.

The Abbey at Woodlawn sits atop a ridge, overlooking the cemetery. Inside, there are 200 crypts2. Built in 1929 in the Egyptian Revival style with a small entrance (portico) at the summit of steps2. This entrance is supported by pillars with a transom above barred  doors, but sides of the building are adorned with stained glass windows2.  


Overview & Additional Information "The Beginnings of Woodlawn Cemetery." Historic Woodlawn Cemetery, Fairmont, WV, Woodlawn's Early History. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2016. . Lough, Joann. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form." National Park Service. United States Department of the Interior, 9 Jan. 2003. Web 5 Aug 2016. .

335 Maple Avenue
Fairmont, WV 22654
Phone Number
(304) 657-1813
Open 24 hours, Monday-Sunday
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This location was created on 2016-08-04 by Hailey Hughes .   It was last updated on 2016-08-05 by Hailey Hughes .

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