Historian’s book takes a closer look at Boxwood Cemetery

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Todd Bensley, Village of Medina historian and member of the Boxwood Cemetery Commission, stands in the veterans’ section of Boxwood Cemetery. Bensley has written a book, Boxwood Cemetery: Where the Past is Present, and will have a book signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Book Shoppe in downtown Medina.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 30 November 2018 at 7:29 am

The 314-page book tells the story of Medina’s cemetery that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

MEDINA – There’s no denying Todd Bensley’s fascination with history.

“As the Village of Medina historian and a history teacher at Medina High School, I guess you could say history is definitely my thing,” said Bensley, who has written a book on the history of Boxwood Cemetery.

Bensley will sign copies of his book Boxwood Cemetery: Where the Past is Present from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday the Book Shoppe, 519 Main St.

Bensley realized what a gem Boxwood Cemetery was when in 2015 he successfully wrote the application for the cemetery to be included on the National Register of Historic Places.

“As I delved into the cemetery’s history, I realized it is a great example of three movements in cemetery trends in the 19th and 20th centuries,” Bensley said.

These included being rural (on a hill), lawn/park areas and the memorial park.

For several years, Bensley brought his students to the cemetery to do research.

“It was most interesting how the cemetery reflects American history,” Bensley said. “People who are buried here made a name for themselves, locally, state-wide and nationally.”

Bensley said perhaps the most prominent person buried in Boxwood is S. Mainville Burroughs, who grew up and lived in Medina. He became involved in the pharmaceutical industry and his company became the giant GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals.

In addition to his students’ essays, Bensley has included in his book hundreds of obituaries, a listing of veterans buried in the cemetery and a compilation of other information related to the cemetery which cannot be found anywhere else.

The 314-page book includes 50 photographs. The books sell for $25. All proceeds will go to the Friends of Boxwood – an organization dedicated to the upkeep and promotion of the local treasure.

While this is Bensley’s first book, he has some ideas for another, but nothing definitive yet, he said.

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