Vandals smash urns, spray graffiti at historic cemetery in Detroit

Woodmere Cemetery

Vandals struck the historic Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit again, dumping ashes, smashing urns and spray-painting the grounds, police told Motor City Muckraker on Thursday evening.

The cemetery in southwest Detroit, which is the resting place of mayors, judges, authors, and Civil War soldiers, was broken into sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Urns were destroyed, their ashes dumped. Graffiti marred the 147-year-old grounds.

Detroit police were scouring the 240-acre cemetery for evidence Thursday.

In December 2012, thieves gutted century-old mausoleums and stole memorials, stained-glass windows and bronze and copper doors.

About a year before that, vandals toppled 110 heads stones, smashed statues and beheaded ornate angels.

Mausoleum of Henry and Gertrude Wineman was robbed of its ornate door and stained-glass window in December 2012.
Mausoleum of Henry and Gertrude Wineman was robbed of its ornate door and stained-glass window in December 2012.

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Woodmere is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city, opening in 1867 in a wooded section of what is now Fort and Woodmere. It’s home to many notable graves, including those of Michigan Gov. John J. Bagley, Buick Motor Company founder David D. Buick, Detroit News founder James E. Scripps, Vernor’s Ginger Ale inventor James Vernor, Carhartt Inc. founder Hamilton Carhartt and lumber baron David Whitney. It also is the resting place of Civil War soldiers who were moved to the cemetery after Fort Wayne was razed.

Cemetery Disgrace: City of Detroit neglects burial ground as gravestones stolen, vandalized


Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Bob Graner

    Eeehh, what do you expect from the douches who try to burn down the entire city each Halloween.

  • 1Joshua

    If you seek a barbarized region, look around you.

  • ChrisC801

    How can anyone do this?!? I have two grandparents buried there, right by the main enterance, but luckily they just have a plain, standard headstone in the ground. Nothing fancy for these punks to destroy. But I feel so bad for those whose loved ones were desecrated. I could not imagine how I would feel hearing something like this had happened to one of my departed loved ones. I hope a special place in hell is being saved for these sick bastards!!

  • falseprophet

    What kind of uncivilized animals would do such a thing to a grave. Oops I must have forgotten for a moment where this had happened. “Ah yes, Detroit-style, very nice… Stand up and tell them your from Detroit.

    • Dust Buster

      a more appropriate video for this would be “its so cold in the d”

      not sure if anyone signed them yet but it is one of the most chilling music videos you will ever see

  • Mariano_H

    This is about as low as people can go for property crimes, short of stealing from an actual church that is open, stealing from a charity, steal from girl scouts. This is so senseless they are not even scraping. This is just disrespect for the dead, and peoples time and money.

    It was not long ago, that many cultures would kill people that did this. The whole town would sign off on it, this is so far gone, there is no saving these people. They are broken, they have zero respect for anyone or anything.

  • Clifford Forester

    Honestly I’d rather they destroyed graves than houses.

    • Dust Buster

      well aren’t you a caring individual.

    • Oberyn_Martell

      Clifford how about you rather they didn’t destroy anything. Also I’m guessing these pieces of garbage don’t localize their vandalism to cemeteries.

    • Mariano_H

      why? Its all private property that costs money. People worked just as hard to buy pops a nice headstone and do the family name proud, as to put a nice porch or copper gutters on the old 1920 house he bought with his wife.

      • Clifford Forester

        Yeah pops is dead though. Somebody still lives in that house.

        • Mariano_H

          Well I agree on that, but I do not think many homes that are inhabited are destroyed. They will steal your barbecue from the yard, the gutters off the house, and steal your fence or garage door etc even if you are at work for a few hours.

          • Dust Buster

            you had me up until the work parft

  • Kelley Girlw

    I know some of the crypts have been vandalized at Woodlawn, but if your article is about Woodmere, maybe post a pic from from Woodmere, instead?

  • Oberyn_Martell

    I had no idea about the prior destruction. That is some seriously effed up shyte.