Many have driven past and visited Oak Hill Cemetery, located along Excelsior Boulevard and Highway 7 near Excelsior. The first recorded burial there was of 36-year-old Theodore Pease in August of 1855. Since then, there have been over a thousand local residents laid to rest at the cemetery, including 48 Civil War veterans and two of Excelsior’s founders. Some favorite stories about the cemetery from the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society archives are of Old Potter’s Field, a burial area in the cemetery’s early days for people who were poor or unidentified. This section holds a particularly unique grave marker: a small, dilapidated obelisk with the inscription “JOHN – 1838-1897 – We will meet again,” complete with engraved doves at the top. In a different section of the cemetery, the epitaph of Evie Conner (1922-1973) reads, “It is nice to be important but it is important to be nice.” Little engravings like these remind us of the humanity of each person laid to rest at the cemetery and their contributions to Excelsior.
Bella Hueffmeier, Ellen McRae, and Faith Quist are interns for the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society and juniors at Minnetonka High School where they serve as writing coaches at the Writing Center.