A $1 million gift from the James M. Cox Foundation will help Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum restore three historic structures.
The cemetery is working on a multi-phase, multi-million dollar capital campaign that will result in the complete restoration and preservation of the historic chapel, front gates and administration building.
The structures are 130 years old, and phase 1 will represent an investment of $3.5 million.
Woodland Cemetery is a historically significant place that celebrates the lives of people who made their mark on the Dayton community, said Rob Rohr, Cox Media Group Ohio’s market vice president.
“The James M. Cox Foundation and Cox Media Group Ohio are proud to join other members of the community to protect and invest in Woodland Cemetery,” Rohr said.
The 200-acre Woodland cemetery property, located in the southern part of Dayton, is home to 100,000 monuments and 3,000 trees, spread over rolling hills.
Woodland’s Lookout Point, the highest point in the city, is a popular destination for visitors.
The overall restoration project will cost about $7.6 million, and the first phase will focus on the gates, administration building and chapel. The $1 million the Cox Foundation offered was a challenge grant that Woodland was able to match and exceed within six months, officials said.
“The chapel houses a one-of-a-kind Tiffany hand-cut tiled floor, 17 Tiffany windows and painted Tiffany frescoes on the walls,” according to a release announcing the donation. “The chapel also has original woodwork cut and installed by the Barney and Smith Car Company from Dayton.”
The second phase of the capital campaign will be an endowment to fund the “perpetual maintenance” and care-taking of 10 historical buildings on site, officials said.
In addition to being one of the nation’s five oldest rural garden cemeteries, Woodland lets visitors explore an outdoor museum and learn more about some of history’s important inventors, whose contributions included powering flight and the creation of the electric car starter, the cash register and Cheez-its, said Sean O’Regan, president and CEO of Woodland.
The cemetery, which is a National Historic District, is where James M. Cox is buried, as well as Col. Edward A. Deeds, Loren M. Berry, John H. Patterson, Charles F. Kettering and the Wright Brothers.
The cemetery is the final resting place of at least seven members of the Cox family, including the governor, his son James Jr., his mother Eliza, his daughter Helen and his wife Margaretta Blair Cox, Woodland officials said.
Cox was a three-term governor of Ohio and the 1920 Democratic candidate for president.
Cox Enterprises was founded in Dayton in 1898 when James M. Cox purchased the Dayton Evening News, which is now the Dayton Daily News. Cox Media Group is the parent of the Dayton Daily News and WHIO-TV and radio.