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Because of overcrowding at St. John Cemetery, land was acquired from the Reuben Kemper estate on E. Ross Avenue for the development of St. Mary Cemetery.  According to the Hamilton County, Ohio Recorder’s Office, it dates to 23 May 1873.

Consecrated by Archbishop Purcell on 03 Nov 1977, the ceremony attracted thousands of people from St. Bernard and the city of Cincinnati. The first burial to take place was that of Herman Gerdemann, (07 Oct. 1843-25 Nov. 1877) on 27 November 1877.  Interestingly, the signage for Kistner Monuments, located across the street from the cemetery, reads, “Established 1877.”

Reuben Kemper Estate.jpg
Gerdemann, Herman, 1st Burial.jpg

Even though St. Mary’s expanded over the years, it did sell land in the late 1960’s to the city of St. Bernard for the development of Alpine Heights.  This new subdivision provided housing for persons displaced by the North Vine Street urban renewal project.

Today, St. Mary Cemetery remains committed to providing a dignified Catholic burial. In addition to traditional in-ground burials, it now includes two mausoleums and columbaria for cremated remains.  

Kay Heller Phillips


Sources:  Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, 07 Jun 1873, p. 6; Fifty Years of Progress, St. Bernard, Ohio, 1878-1928, p. 83; Fifty Years Of Progress, 1878-1978, p. 173; The Cincinnati Enquirer, 05 Nov 1877, p.8 ; St. Bernard-Ludlow Grove Historical Society Archives; Gerdemann record from St. Mary Cemetery archives; The Cincinnati Enquirer, 29 Jul 1973; .

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