In the 1830s and 1840s, Cincinnatians were saddened by the recurrence of the cholera epidemic. The crowded and sometimes unkempt appearance of many of the small church cemeteries in the basin area offered little comfort to bereaved families. Many of the leaders in the professional and industrial enterprises of the city expressed their concern over the lack of proper interment facilities.
Resulting from this concern, members of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society formed a cemetery association in 1844. They endeavored to find a location suitable for creating a picturesque park like institution, a rural cemetery, contiguous to the city yet remote enough not to be disturbed by expansion. They sought to acquire enough land to be used for funerary purposes into the indefinite future, which could be embellished with shrubbery, flowers, trees, walks, and rural ornaments. These men traveled throughout the United States and Europe visiting cemeteries of outstanding reputation and beauty as they planned a cemetery that would equal the famed beauty of Pere-Lachaise in Paris, and various outstanding cemeteries on the East Coast of the United States.
On December 1, 1844 Salmon Chase and others prepared the Articles of Incorporation. Chase lobbied with legislators, persuading them to grant a charter for a non-profit nondenominational corporation, which was granted by a special act on January 21, 1845. At the consecration ceremony the founders publicly proclaimed their hope that the natural setting would be a contemplative atmosphere conducive to consolation, commemoration, and education. The first interment was made September 1, 1845.
In 1987, Spring Grove officially changed its name to "Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum" to include the expansive collection of both native and exotic plant materials as well as its State and National Champion Trees and its Centenarian Collection. Today, Spring Grove encompasses 733 acres of which approximately 450 acres are beautifully landscaped and maintained. The remaining undeveloped acres ensure the permanence of the cemetery for hundreds of years.
Since its founding over 150 years ago, Spring Grove has remained a leader in cemetery design and management. The landscape "lawn plan" concept was created here. Although it was considered a radical concept of cemetery design at that time, it later became accepted almost universally as the model plan. Spring Grove remains a masterwork of the landscaping art, studied by horticulturists and admired by thousands of visitors. The Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce lists it among the city's outstanding attractions proudly quoting the praise of an artist who once said, "Only a place with a heart and soul could make for its dead a more magnificent park than any which exists for the living."
Spring Grove continues to provide its services within the reach of persons of every income. Offering every type of burial option, several styles of memorialization, an operating crematory, and the new Spring Grove Funeral Homes, Spring Grove is proud to serve Cincinnati residents with care, consideration, and convenience.