‘Ahead of their time:’ Woodland Cemetery commemorates notable Dayton women

A dozen walking or virtual tours can be found on Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum’s mobile app. STAFF FILE PHOTO
A dozen walking or virtual tours can be found on Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum’s mobile app. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Lace up your shoes, get outside, and learn about some of the notable women of Dayton.

“Women of Woodland” is among a dozen walking or virtual tours found on Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum’s mobile app.

The downloadable tour is filled with biographical information about female innovators, philanthropists, authors and artists from the Dayton area.

There are a dozen walking or virtual tours found on Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum’s mobile app.  STAFF
There are a dozen walking or virtual tours found on Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum’s mobile app. STAFF

“These women were truly ahead of their time,” Angie Hoschouer, Woodland’s manager of development and marketing, said. “These women turned to the community to fulfill its needs whether it was poverty, hunger or housing.”

Julia Shaw Patterson Carnell is one of the women buried at the cemetery and featured on the tour.

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Carnell donated $2 million for construction of the new Dayton Art Institute with the condition the citizens help fund the cost of operations.

A 29,000-pound boulder marks Erma Bombeck’s gravesite and visitors can learn more about her literary life.

The famed author started her career in 1943 as a copy girl for the Dayton Journal Herald while she was still in high school. Her first interview was with Shirley Temple while the actress visited Dayton.

A 29,000-pound boulder marks Erma Bombeck’s gravesite at Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum. STAFF FILE PHOTO
A 29,000-pound boulder marks Erma Bombeck’s gravesite at Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Known as Dayton’s greatest madam and a savvy business woman, Elizabeth Richter was generous to the women who worked for her and the community, according to Hoschouer’s research.

She made sure the women working in her brothel had their own bank accounts, and when the 1913 flood destroyed much of downtown Dayton, including her own properties, she donated $1,500 to a relief fund.

The stories of actresses, politicians, suffragettes and even a Gypsy Queen are part of the walking tour.

Gypsy queen Matilda Stanley's monument (left) at  Woodland Cemetery  in Dayton. She is one of the women found on the walking or virtual tours  on Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum’s mobile app. STAFF
Gypsy queen Matilda Stanley's monument (left) at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton. She is one of the women found on the walking or virtual tours on Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum’s mobile app. STAFF

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

“Its important to know that women have done just as many great things for Dayton as the men have,” Hoschouer said. “They need to be recognized.”

Hoschouer is continuously researching to add biographies to the tours and is interested in information the public may have about people buried in the cemetery. She can be reached at ahoschouer@woodlandcemetery.org.

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The public can also make donations in honor of the memory of these women or a loved one on Woodland’s website.

A popular spot for walkers, runners and dog-walkers to socially distance during the pandemic, Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum, 118 Woodland Ave., comprises 200 acres and is considered one of the oldest “garden” cemeteries in the nation.

The gates are open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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