Daytonian of the Week: Angie Hoschouer

Dayton has an amazing history, and what makes it amazing are the people.

Someone whose job is to know as much about that history as possible is Angie Hoschouer, who works at Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum.

Woodland is the final resting place for more than 100,000, including many of the area’s notables – The Wright Brothers, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Erma Bombeck and Gov. James M. Cox.

We recently caught up with Hoschouer to learn more about her fascinating job and Dayton’s fascinating history.

Here, meet Angie Hoschouer is our Daytonian of the Week.

What do you do? 

Hoschouer: I am the manager of Development and Marketing for Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum. However, I wear many hats and enjoy the opportunities each one offers. For example, I am a tour guide. Oftentimes I am asked internally and externally to give tours of the grounds. With each tour, my goal is to give those attending at least one fact about Dayton that they did not know before they arrived at Woodland.

I give lectures and talks to community groups and organizations weekly. Recently I was at the Northmont Branch of Dayton Metro Library giving the History, Mystery, Mayhem and Murder program, with a co-worker we gave 64 students from Holy Angels School a Historic tour and then I moderated a class for University of Dayton’s Osher Life Long Learning program about the historical Doctors of Dayton, a program that I created, researched and photographed. I publish our quarterly newsletter and also manage the Woodland Arboretum Foundation’s fundraising efforts.

What are a couple of the most interesting things about Woodland Cemetery? 

Hoschouer: Woodland was founded in 1841, making 2016 the 175th Anniversary of our founding. We have three structures on the National Register of Historic Places and a portion of the cemetery is listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, U. S. Department of Interior.

Inside the historic Chapel we house a one-of-a-kind Tiffany window, 16 side windows and a unique Tiffany designed hand-cut tile floor. Many people are not aware that they can come inside and view the windows and learn more about the history of the Chapel. Stop by any time you are at the cemetery.

A couple of fun facts from our history: in 1882, carriages were permitted in Woodland on Easter Sunday; in 1910, automobile hearses were allowed in the cemetery; and in 1936, due to a manpower shortage, 400 sheep were “employed” to keep the grass “mowed.”

We have a couple of historical panoramic photos in our office from 1927; it’s interesting to see how much the landscape has changed in these past 89 years. And I have to mention that the King and Queen of the Gypsies, Levi and Matilda Stanley, and the inventor of Cheez-Its, Joseph W. Green, all rest peacefully at Woodland.

What types of projects are you working on?

Hoschouer: My major project and focus is on a fundraising campaign to restore the historic Chapel. The project includes the restoration, interior and exterior, of the historic Chapel, the Administration Building and the Front Gates. The Tiffany windows are 112 years old and are in need of restoration and preservation as well. It's a huge undertaking, but one well worth the effort as many of Dayton's most prominent citizens had their funeral services in the Chapel. We care for them and generations of their family members.

I also get the opportunity to research many of the men and women who are residents at Woodland. I have created many new programs and tours including the Doctors of Dayton, Street Names of Dayton, Dayton’s Walk of Fame, a program for Black History Month and a special program created for the 100th anniversary of the Dayton Woman’s Club. I love finding the stories of the men and women whose hard work and perseverance made it great in Dayton.

Do you have ancestors interred at Woodland? 

Hoschouer: My history in the Miami Valley goes back to the early 1800s when my great-great-great-great grandfather served in the Ohio Legislature in 1809. His daughter, my great-great-great grandmother and her husband were buried at Woodland in 1858 and 1867. From there I have several sets of great-great grandparents, great-great aunts and uncles, and their children, my cousins, several times removed, buried at Woodland.

On one of the tours I pass by my great-great-great grandparents and never hesitate to tell the attendees and to say hello to my ancestors. I am proud to be a First Family of Ohio, a First Family of Greene County, a Society of Civil War Families of Ohio and a Builder and Settler of Ohio, all designations given out by the Ohio Genealogical Society.

People love to come out to Woodland to walk around and enjoy the trees as well as the beautiful monuments. Do you have a favorite spot? 

Hoschouer: Of course I have a favorite spot, several favorite spots, but those are only for me to know. Sometimes I take a walk and just stand there in the quiet and listen to the trees rustle or watch the squirrels play. It's a very peaceful way to clear your mind. I like to go to the house at the back gates, sit on the steps and listen to the fountain in the pond.

In the spring, when the flowers on the trees begin to fall it almost looks like it is snowing and in the fall, there is no better place to look at the colorful trees than at Woodland. The section by the pond is full of very mature Gingko trees and they turn the most beautiful golden yellow. It is truly a wonderful site.

Does Woodland have any special events coming up? 

Hoschouer: The tour season at Woodland ends in October; however, I am leading a couple of tours in December inside the Mausoleum. The holiday decorations will be on display and it too is truly a feast for the eyes. On the tour we visit Charles and Virginia Kettering, Jeraldyne Blunden, Mack Hummon and Clara Weisenborn, just to name a few notables. You can call the office and register for the tours on Dec. 8 and Dec. 22.

The cemetery will hold its annual Veteran’s Day and Flag Retirement Ceremony on Nov. 11 and the Service of Remembrance for all families will be held on Dec. 2.

Additionally, in the month of December, you can come to the Mausoleum and decorate an ornament, provided free of charge, and place on our holiday trees in memory of a loved one. As long as the weather is still nice and we have willing tour guides, you can call and request a group tour. We also have a 10-person passenger bus that we can do tours of the cemetery as long as the roads are not snow and ice covered.

What inspires you about Dayton and the area? 

Hoschouer: I am inspired by the multitude of people who were so inventive. Dayton was a hotbed of innovation and I am happy to be able to tell their stories. I think we are so caught up in the here and now and looking to the future that we haven't taken a look back to see what happened in our own backyard.

The power of flight, the cash register, the car starter are certainly some of the most mainstream of inventions that were dreamed up in Dayton. And what about those that created tools that are still being used today such as the hydraulic lifting jack, tools for servicing heat exchangers and water-tube boilers, processes in metallurgy and metrology, cars and car parts, the first electric scooter, and so much more.

And the story that I love the most at Woodland is that of Jordan Anderson, a freed slave who was asked to return to work for his former master and whose response in a letter is a testament to his pride and perseverance. I get to tell people those stories and tell them that it WAS AND IS great in Dayton and we should be proud of who we are, where we came from and where we are going.

What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years? 

Hoschouer: It will be bright. As any gem should be.

About the Author