Thornrose History

From 1750, all burials in Staunton took place in the 2 ½ acre plot of Augusta Parish Church. By the late 1840’s this cemetery in the center of town was so crowded that it was nearly impossible to dig a new grave without unearthing an old one. A new cemetery was needed.

A committee was formed in 1848 to pursue the creation of a new burial ground, and on February 24, 1849, Thornrose Cemetery Company was chartered by act of the Legislature. Twelve acres west of Staunton were bought and laid off in lots, roads and walkways. The first recorded burial in Thornrose occurred on March 29, 1853, with the new cemetery being formally dedicated on May 28, 1853.

During the early 1900’s one of Thornrose Cemetery’s most influential Presidents, Arista Hoge, directed the expansion and beautification of the grounds with extensive landscaping that now consists of 30 acres. He commissioned noted local architect T.J. Collins to design an impressive limestone Gatehouse Entrance, Bridge and Tower, Mortuary Chapel, and Stone Walls that surround the property.

Thornrose continues to improve its already impressive landscaping with stone structures, above ground mausoleums and monuments. Today, Thornrose is considered one of the most beautiful and historic cemeteries in the country.