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Kings Island’s parking lot cemetery


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I’ll take, “Things I didn’t know for $1,000, Alex.”

The mysterious Dog Street Cemetery has been an unspoken part of Kings Island since the beginning. This is a great read if you like Kings Island history. 
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https://www.visitkingsisland.com/blog/2020/october/50th-anniversary-series-kings-island-construction-uncovers-forgotten-cemetery

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I honestly (not kidding) thought this was going to be a post about how bad the parking lot needs paved. Not sure how I feel about the cemetery as it pertains to the park. Guessing way back in the day people just cried and buried their loved ones there. Nothing more nothing less. And still their loved ones lay.

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^ ...Often on private property. The idea of a cemetery came along later. So you’d have an arrangement like this or be buried in a graveyard*.

I did not know that the cemetery was essentially lost. Just imagine if you were out hiking in the woods and you found an old, overgrown cemetery in the middle of the woods. How creepy would that be?

*Fun fact: What is difference between a cemetery and a graveyard? A cemetery is a stand alone plot designated for burial while a graveyard serves the same function but is on the property of a church. 

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18 minutes ago, BoddaH1994 said:

I did not know that the cemetery was essentially lost. Just imagine if you were out hiking in the woods and you found an old, overgrown cemetery in the middle of the woods. How creepy would that be?

I was surprised to see that the cemetery was initially hard to find (quoting Woolsey from the 1970 Cincinnati Enquirer article referenced in the blog post: "We had some difficulty finding it, though, because it is so overgrown.") Before Kings Island, the cemetery was literally at a corner of a field and wasn't buried deep in the woods or anything. Seems clear that the landowner had to grow his field around it.

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The cemetery is the square at center. For reference, the big "corner" in the trees at the upper right is where Timberwolf is now today. Photo courtesy Ohio Department of Transportation, 1960.

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^It would be interesting to see a photo closer to 1970 - 10 years is a long time and it doesn't take that long for an entire field to become overgrown.   A year or so of neglect could have caused it to be difficult to find. 

So either it wasn't overgrown but this story sounded better than saying "oh it is right here", or it was indeed overgrown.  Without photographic evidence, all we have to go by are historical accounts.

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8 hours ago, disco2000 said:

^It would be interesting to see a photo closer to 1970 - 10 years is a long time and it doesn't take that long for an entire field to become overgrown.   A year or so of neglect could have caused it to be difficult to find. 

So either it wasn't overgrown but this story sounded better than saying "oh it is right here", or it was indeed overgrown.  Without photographic evidence, all we have to go by are historical accounts.

Oh I wasn't questioning any of the story. I'm sure it was overgrown and the markers were difficult to find. I was just surprised that the cemetery as a whole was difficult to find (or at least it was reported that way in Cincinnati Enquirer). I guess they didn't have Google Maps or whatever at their disposal though to help pinpoint its location :lol:

Here's a 1964 aerial, also from ODOT (cemetery on right). It does look like the little square is grown in a bit more:

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The next photo from ODOT is 1972, where it's been nicely cleaned up.

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And here's a 1970 photo from ground level, as included in the Cincinnati Enquirer article "Graves Cause Puzzle" from October 18, 1970. You can see how overgrown it was here:

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10 hours ago, BoddaH1994 said:


^ ...Often on private property. The idea of a cemetery came along later. So you’d have an arrangement like this or be buried in a graveyard*.

I did not know that the cemetery was essentially lost. Just imagine if you were out hiking in the woods and you found an old, overgrown cemetery in the middle of the woods. How creepy would that be?

*Fun fact: What is difference between a cemetery and a graveyard? A cemetery is a stand alone plot designated for burial while a graveyard serves the same function but is on the property of a church. 

I have actually had this experience more then once, both hiking public spaces and exploring around a friends family farm in the hills of Kentucky.  Honestly, I find them more peaceful then creepy myself, but I am intrigued by the history in them, who is buried, what is their story, etc? 

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Living in rural Kentucky, small cemeteries are everywhere.   My grandfather was a tenant farmer when I was growing up.  Besides the owners  house was a cemetery of past family members.  It was surrounded by a rock wall.  Unfortunately, on the outside of the rock wall, was the slave burial ground.  Those graves were just marked with a field stone--no inscription or anything.  For years, cattle and hogs would trample over this , until my grandfather became the tenant farmer and fenced it off.

There was a part of the farm that was woodland and there was a hidden cemetery that was found accidently.

My own family cemetery became lost to time even though it was on a main country road.  When I was a teenager, my grandfather lead the charge to clean it up.  That was a task!  But a fund was established, the site was cleaned and fenced and now its labeled and mowed weekly.  Nobody has been buried there since the 1930's (I think), but I'm tempted to have part of my ashes buried there with a fieldstone marker.  I want some to be put in Yellowstone National Park, Kings Island and Kings Dominion too ;)

But, back to Dogstreet--why that name?

Have any of us here visited the cemetery?  I did once but it's hard to get to during normal operations.  There should be a crosswalk or something.

Why is it managed by Deerfield Township?  Is that part of the park not in Mason?  Does DFTS send out a mowing company or does the KI contractor just mow it?   

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16 minutes ago, BeeastFarmer said:

Living in rural Kentucky, small cemeteries are everywhere.   My grandfather was a tenant farmer when I was growing up.  Besides the owners  house was a cemetery of past family members.  It was surrounded by a rock wall.  Unfortunately, on the outside of the rock wall, was the slave burial ground.  Those graves were just marked with a field stone--no inscription or anything.  For years, cattle and hogs would trample over this , until my grandfather became the tenant farmer and fenced it off.

There was a part of the farm that was woodland and there was a hidden cemetery that was found accidently.

My own family cemetery became lost to time even though it was on a main country road.  When I was a teenager, my grandfather lead the charge to clean it up.  That was a task!  But a fund was established, the site was cleaned and fenced and now its labeled and mowed weekly.  Nobody has been buried there since the 1930's (I think), but I'm tempted to have part of my ashes buried there with a fieldstone marker.  I want some to be put in Yellowstone National Park, Kings Island and Kings Dominion too ;)

But, back to Dogstreet--why that name?

Have any of us here visited the cemetery?  I did once but it's hard to get to during normal operations.  There should be a crosswalk or something.

Why is it managed by Deerfield Township?  Is that part of the park not in Mason?  Does DFTS send out a mowing company or does the KI contractor just mow it?   

Very interesting stories!

My guess is there used to be a Dog Street. @TombraiderTy, this sounds like it up your alley. :)

Kings Island used to be part of Deerfield until the 90s when they were annexed by Mason. My best guess is that responsibility for the cemetery didn’t go with it. Not sure if Deerfield actually tends the grounds or they pay Kings Island to do so. I’m leaning towards them paying KI since I’ve never seen anyone cutting the grass, so maybe KI’s stellar grounds crew takes care of it in the early morning hours when they do the rest of the park. Just a guess. 

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Tangent - 

There is an old 1800's cemetery on my Maternal Grandparents farmland.  Many/most graves in that portion of the south were covered with concrete or stone slabs.  I once asked "why?" as a kid and was told it was to keep the coffins/bodies from raising out of the ground if it got too saturated.  (Its very close to the ocean, so the water table is high.) As a kid, whenever me and my cousins would play outside, we were warned by our family to "stay away out of respect for the people lying there."  That combined with the vivid childhood thought of seeing a casket raising out of the ground always made me scared of cemeteries in general.  Knowing there were bodies of people that had been laying there for 100+ years didn't help any.  However, I always thought to myself... why is it still there?  No one every visits those graves, or knows who the people are.  (My cousins and I used to fight over who had to go retrieve any baseballs that accidentally landed in the cemetery.)

Here's a google shot of my Grandparents former house and the cemetery behind it.  Their house is the one at the top of the pic, and the graves are in the triangular shaped area in the center.  BTW - the cemetery is still maintained by a local church.

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As time passed, I'm no longer timid of cemeteries, but I still wonder what will become of them 100, 200 years from now.  I mean, with so many records and recorded histories, they don't really serve a purpose as a historical marker anymore - unless its a famous person.  

I visited Savannah, GA about 10 years ago and during a tour there we were told that many of the streets in Savannah were paved over portions of graveyards/cemeteries there.

 

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22 minutes ago, BoddaH1994 said:

My guess is there used to be a Dog Street. @TombraiderTy, this sounds like it up your alley. :)

I'm not really familiar with the cemetery, but from the Warren County Genealogical Society:

Quote

The term Dog Street may have come from the colloquial name of the school district, officially District #2 or Mound District. Another story relates that a 'dog leg' street led back to the cemetery.

 

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13 minutes ago, gforce1994 said:

It’s interesting that nearly all the tombstones don’t have a birth year listed.

Just personal theory, but they probably didn't know their birth year or their birth year wasn't recorded... idk if I am right but again personally guessing...

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1 hour ago, PilotDude said:

I have actually had this experience more then once, both hiking public spaces and exploring around a friends family farm in the hills of Kentucky.  Honestly, I find them more peaceful then creepy myself, but I am intrigued by the history in them, who is buried, what is their story, etc? 

There's actually several neighborhoods in NKY that have a few graveyards mixed in. I know of a prominent one that had to create an actual round about around it to work around the plot. 

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That is a truly fascinating story.  Love reading that kind of stuff.

Also, just as fascinating, if not more, I've always wanted to see the land that KI is sitting on before it was built.  I had no idea there were satellite photos on ODOT!!!

Thanks @TombraiderTy!!

Usually I'm only thinking about getting home once I'm at that end of the parking lot, but a few years ago, I got out and took a few pics (2015):

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6 hours ago, Shaggy said:

Tangent - 

There is an old 1800's cemetery on my Maternal Grandparents farmland.  Many/most graves in that portion of the south were covered with concrete or stone slabs.  I once asked "why?" as a kid and was told it was to keep the coffins/bodies from raising out of the ground if it got too saturated.  (Its very close to the ocean, so the water table is high.) As a kid, whenever me and my cousins would play outside, we were warned by our family to "stay away out of respect for the people lying there."  That combined with the vivid childhood thought of seeing a casket raising out of the ground always made me scared of cemeteries in general.  Knowing there were bodies of people that had been laying there for 100+ years didn't help any.  However, I always thought to myself... why is it still there?  No one every visits those graves, or knows who the people are.  (My cousins and I used to fight over who had to go retrieve any baseballs that accidentally landed in the cemetery.)

Here's a google shot of my Grandparents former house and the cemetery behind it.  Their house is the one at the top of the pic, and the graves are in the triangular shaped area in the center.  BTW - the cemetery is still maintained by a local church.

image.png

As time passed, I'm no longer timid of cemeteries, but I still wonder what will become of them 100, 200 years from now.  I mean, with so many records and recorded histories, they don't really serve a purpose as a historical marker anymore - unless its a famous person.  

I visited Savannah, GA about 10 years ago and during a tour there we were told that many of the streets in Savannah were paved over portions of graveyards/cemeteries there.

 

That's an interesting point, @Shaggy.  I go to the cemetery from time to time to drive past my grandparent's/aunts and uncles graves and my high school friend/college roomate (who I rode Vortex with in 1987!) but these people literally mean nothing to my niece or my cousin's children.  We will talk about them and they will remember those conversations, but when our generation is gone and they are gone, there will be no connection.

My dad is vehemenently against me NOT having a grave stone.  He says I need something visible to future generations.  I don't think I do.  That's why I want my ashes spread in several places---or if I got my ultimate wish, I would be stuffed/mummified and used as theming at The Beast ;)

 

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