Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, which dates to 1849, was listed to the National Register of Historic Places effective July 3, according to an email a few days ago from the National Park Service.
Ironically, the cemetery contains several gravesites or mausoleums — including the Louis Sullivan-designed Wainwright Tomb — that already were listed on the National Register. But the cemetery itself wasn’t placed on the Register until now.
Bellefontaine, at 4947 W. Florissant Ave., is on the “City 66” alignment that carried Route 66 from 1939 to 1974.
The 314-acre cemetery contains more than 87,000 graves, including Louisiana Purchase explorer William Clark, Anheuser-Busch brewery founder Adolphus Busch, Eads Bridge architect James Eads, U.S. senator Thomas Hart Benton, and Beat writer William S. Burroughs.
It remains an active, nonprofit and nondenominational cemetery, with about 100 burials a year, and still has about 100 acres of land available.
To tell you how historically significant Bellfontaine is, Findagrave.com lists almost 400 famous burials on its database.
Bellefontaine Cemetery often holds tours, hosts weddings at its chapel, and has a website that’s useful and contains a lot of information.
(Image of Bellefontaine Cemetery by Christina Rutz via Flickr)