Oakwood Cemetery is located on the bluffs southeast of the downtown commercial center of Red Wing, Minnesota, a city of 17,000 residents by the Mississippi River. For more than a century and a half, Oakwood cemetery has been the final resting place of the people of Red Wing. One of Oakwood’s most unique resources is the cemetery’s own landscape, a combination of topography, roads, paths, plants, historic monuments, buildings and other structures. Roughly 60 acres out of the 104-acre site cemetery is deemed historic. Originally built in 1857, the site itself, with its landscapes and horticultural plantings, reflecting the implementation of the “Lawn Plan”, as well as the changing social attitudes related towards death and commemoration, give expression to the “rural cemetery” movement. Following the formation of a cemetery commission in 1889, Oakwood was carefully managed and redesigned to reflect the Lawn Plan promoted nationally by Adolph Strauch of Cincinnati, emphasizing open vistas, careful arrangement of vegetation, and aesthetic supervision of monuments and gravestones. The capstone of the era came in 1908, when the Blodgett Gateway and the Betcher Memorial Chapel were dedicated, transforming the entry into the cemetery grounds. Designed by architect Clarence H. Johnson Sr., they reflect the milieu of the first decade of the 20th century in Red Wing, Minnesota.
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