PORTSMOUTH — Members from the Rotary Club of Portsmouth gathered on the brick streets of Greenlawn Cemetery Monday to celebrate the recent installation of the new “Greenlawn Cemetery” steel archway.
The new archway, located at the Offnere Street entrance, was funded by the local Rotary club in partnership with the Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery Foundation to highlight their 100th Year Anniversary of Service to the Portsmouth community.
“We were presented with this amazing opportunity and because Greenlawn is such a gem in our community, we thought it was perfect for our 100th anniversary,” former Rotary Club President Steve Rader said. “It was pretty apparent this was a pretty important project, an impactful project and Rotary was honored to be part of this. Rotary has funded many local projects and scholarships through its’ 100-year history in the community, but the Greenlawn Archway is the largest single project to date.”
The main entrance to Greenlawn Cemetery is on Offnere Street and according to Debbie Gambill, President with the Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery Foundation, there presently was no archway in place as it had become damaged many decades ago.
“There are smaller archways depicting the Holy Redeemer and St. Mary’s Sections, but none at the main gate,” Gambill said. “We were so fortunate to partner with the Rotary Club on this project and we were also fortunate to discover Stewart Iron Works from Erlanger, Kentucky, was still in business. As the original fabricator for both the archway and the cast iron perimeter fencing in the 1880s, Stewart Iron Works was able to duplicate an almost exact replica of what the archway looked like when the arch was originally installed.”
Stewart has fabricated fencing for the White House, Disneyland, Alcatraz Prison, and countless other historic sites across the country.
“The all-steel archway is nearly 26 feet wide and over 16 feet tall with oversized letters depicting the name Greenlawn Cemetery,” Gambill said. “We are hopeful the archway will still be there in 100-plus years, and we are very grateful to Portsmouth Rotary for helping this come to fruition.”
Established in 1829, Greenlawn Cemetery is one of the oldest working cemeteries in Ohio and encompasses over 40 acres of land in the city. It is the final resting place for over 85,000 graves.