Historic Oakwood cemetery in the middle of Raleigh, North Carolina is uniquely situated amid rolling hills and valleys with an abundance of gracefully swaying trees. In the fall, the colorful leaves give the entire area a majestic beauty. As you walk through the cemetery, there is a sense of groundedness, of belonging to time and place, as if all who walk this earth have a right to leave their legacy.

Seeing the dedicated monuments to the lives lived, you ponder the stories of those who now rest at Historic Oakwood. Leaving this place, you understand a renewed sense of your own life’s purpose. Take a photo tour of Historic Oakwood Cemetery and find out who you are among the living monuments.

Historic Oakwood

If you get a chance to tour Historic Oakwood, you’ll find that there are many areas designed for all types of final resting places. There are multiple available options for those considering their final resting place. You may want to think about the beauty and versatility Historic Oakwood offers. Let’s look at the possibilities of this historic cemetery.

Green Burial Area

For those who want an uncomplicated burial or who think about environmental concerns, there is green burial. At Historic Oakwood’s “Mordecai Meadows,” an area specifically designed for green burial awaits those who understand a need for simpler times. With green burial, there is no need for toxic embalming chemicals, ornate caskets, concrete vaults, or other extras that pollute our environment and add to your funeral costs.

According to Historic Oakwood, “Green burial allows the cycle of nature to be completed, ashes to ashes, dust to dust…. in a peaceful, yet urban, environment, surrounded by generations of Raleigh citizens who passed before them… with a burial option that looks much like the original burials here at Oakwood in the 1860s.” (1)

green burial green burial green burial on left side of path

The last image above is the path that separates the green burial section “Mordecai’s Meadow” on the left, from the section on the right that holds traditional burial plots.

Cremation Urns & Plots

In the “Sleeping Place Among the Oaks,” there is room for those who choose cremation. At Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, we offer on-site cremation services and work with Oakwood if desired to find a final resting place.

Historic Oakwood shares, “Our community mausoleum has niches available for purchase. We also allow 2 cremated remains per traditional burial space. Oakwood is proud to be the first cemetery in the triangle that offers shared obelisks for cremated remains. The obelisks are located in Magnolia Walk, in the heart of one of the oldest sections of the cemetery.” (2)

With cremation, you may also choose a burial plot in between traditional grave burial plots. Since these cremation plots are smaller, they exist all over the cemetery. Speaking with Robin about the available plots could bring about a plan for burial in a beloved section of this historic cemetery.

cremation niches

Monuments and Headstones

Historic Oakwood shows us the monument styles going back to the 1860s. You can see the engraved Bible verses of faithful Christians alongside others who trusted in Islamic religious traditions. Jewish monuments sit inside the Hebrew section of Oakwood. Walking through the cemetery, you are struck by the fact that we are all so different and yet similar in our desires to believe in something or someone.

Shephard grave Gilbert Graves Smith islamic

A Tribute to Our History

If you’re a history buff, you would love to meet Robin Simonton, the cemetery director, whose vast knowledge of the Raleigh area and of the “citizens” of Oakwood astounds and directs the imagination to historic times. If you prefer to tour the cemetery on your own, learning more is easy with Historic Oakwood’s newest phone app. With the app or at the website, you can search burial records and read about those who reside at Historic Oakwood.

On my tour with Robin, we saw many different types of monuments in modern, ornate, and simple styles. What struck me the most, however, is that each plot at this cemetery matters. Their history is thoroughly researched and documented by cemetery staff to the extent possible. Taking a tour of Historic Oakwood really is like stepping back into time and learning about the citizens and lives that lived here in Raleigh before us. Our heritage is buried here and it makes sense that we seek out their monuments and learn about what came before. Understanding our past can help us each better understand our lives now.

Check out even more images at Renaissance Funeral Home at Historic Oakwood.

Historic Oakwood Cemetery can be a part of your pre-planning process. You might imagine that a historic cemetery would be expensive, but their pricing is actually quite competitive and there is plenty of room for newcomers. You may also consider purchasing lots for future generations of your loved ones. When you make a pre-plan that includes Oakwood, you lock in today’s prices and benefit financially.

At Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, we work with local cemeteries to find final resting places that reflect the lives of the deceased. Whether you are making a pre-plan for yourself or preparing for the services of a loved one, we understand the importance of celebrating each life as sacred and special in this world. When families come together to grieve and remember a loved one, there is healing that takes place in community togetherness. We facilitate the times together with your loved one that you all need to move forward with hope. Contact us today and find out how we can help you plan.



  1. https://historicoakwoodcemetery.org/green-burial/
  2. https://historicoakwoodcemetery.org/article/faq-items/are-there-options-for-cremation-urns/