Dear John/Riverside CemeteryPublished 4:14pm Thursday, May 10, 2012
We took a leisurely drive around Riverside Cemetery on a recent Sunday and noticed the new signs marking all of the cemetery roads. The signs are elegant and very consistent with the beauty of the cemetery. We think they will make it much easier to find specific plots. We had several questions about the signs: 1. When were they installed and by whom? 2. How were the names chosen for the roads? 3. Is there a map for the public with the location of historically significant graves, so as to find them more easily?
— Shirley Palmer and Liz Lyons
Credit Dowagiac’s Cemetery Board for the signs made by Lake Shore Industries in Erie, Pa. Lake Shore has been around since 1908, making it as old as the Civil War statue in Burke Park.
Lake Shore is an architectural sign company with an aluminum foundry producing street signs, historical markers and commercial castings. Its cast aluminum street signs have a definite vintage antique look.
They were installed last fall, mostly by city Grounds Director Matt Stack and his crew, with an assist by John Vylonis.
Senior City Councilman Bob Schuur, who also serves on the Cemetery Board and the Arbor Day Committee for Tree City, said Charlie Dohm suggested naming the lanes.
Similar to the Cass County road system, which names north-south arteries “roads” while “streets” run east-west, Riverside Cemetery has north-south lanes, such as Beech, Sassafras and Birch, and east-west drives, including Crabapple and Dogwood, according to Sue Watson, city Department of Public Services office manager.
The cemetery runs along Riverside Drive. There is a Veterans Memorial Drive. And the paved path up the hill to the right of where the caretaker’s house once stood, was already known as Emmons Lane.
Riverside Circle is the main drive in the middle of the cemetery looping around the shop.
There is no map readily available, but local historian Stan Hamper developed a walking tour years ago and Beckwith Theatre has brought some of its inhabitants to life with local actors.
Schuur said the Cemetery Board plans to post a plat map as a guide.