Public Tours

We welcome you to discover, explore and experience Crown Hill Cemetery on our award-winning public tours! Led by knowledgeable guides, these tours allow you to enjoy Crown Hill at the most beautiful time of day and experience nature at its finest as you learn about the history and heritage of our country’s third largest cemetery. With over 215,000 stories to tell, we’re just getting started! We offer a variety of tour themes from May through October. Most are held on Saturday nights and scheduled so participants can see the sunset from the top of Crown Hill, the highest hill in the county. This amazing vantage point provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the entire city skyline.

Tour Group Map

Tours

  • Tombstones & Spring Trees

    See the beauty of the spring blooming trees of Crown Hill & their human neighbors. On this tour, participants will see the impressive tombstones, and the equally impressive nearby trees (often much more impressive!), on this leisurely walk through the scenic grounds of the cemetery.

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    See the beauty of the spring blooming trees of Crown Hill & their human neighbors. On this tour, participants will see the impressive tombstones, and the equally impressive nearby trees (often much more impressive!), on this leisurely walk through the scenic grounds of the cemetery. This tour will take a closer look at about 20 of the 4,100 trees in the cemetery, some which are not native to Indiana. Among the trees, visitors will hear about some of the interesting people buried at Crown Hill, and what they did during their lives. Enjoy nature and history at the same time! When available, our special Tree Maps will be provided, or you can download one at any time from our Nature page
    This is a 90-minute walking tour that will cover about one mile at a comfortable pace for most.

    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early.

    Less Details
    Saturday, May 11
      $7 online, $10 at the gate
      9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
  • Heritage

    This tour presents the history of Crown Hill Cemetery while visiting the graves of some of the many interesting people buried here, both the famous and not so famous, recent and long gone. A variety of monuments will be seen, including some of our most recognized statues.

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    This tour presents the history of Crown Hill Cemetery while visiting the graves of some of the many interesting people buried here, both the famous and not so famous, recent and long gone. A variety of monuments will be seen, including some of our most recognized statues. The William H. English family monument and circle lot will be included and tour participants will learn about the fascinating history of the prominent English family, owners of the beautiful English Hotel and Opera House, located on the northwest quadrant of Indianapolis’ Monument Circle in the late 1800s and early 1900s. (This is just one of the many interesting stops we’ll make on this popular tour.) Tour participants will also have an opportunity to enjoy the stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the downtown Indianapolis skyline at sunset from the tomb of the famous Hoosier Poet, James Whitcomb Riley, high atop beautiful Crown Hill. This tour captures highlights from many of our other tours and is interesting for all ages. Highly recommended!

    This is a walking tour that will cover about one mile at a comfortable pace for most.

    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early.

    Less Details
    Saturday, Jun 1 Saturday, Jul 13 Saturday, Aug 17 Sunday, Oct 13
      $7 in advance online, $10 at the gate (If sold out online, please choose another tour.)
      7:30 - 9:30 pm, Sunday 3:00-5:00pm
  • Skeletons in the Closet Part I

    On this interesting tour, we’ll learn about some skeletons in the closet! Was it one of his three wives, or another long-time lover, that Skiles Test kept in a glass coffin in his “House of Blue Lights” along Fall Creek? Why does one headstone say simply, “Mother of Rosalind” and not her full name, which would have been “Helen Orr Hufnall Phaff English Wegmann English English Prince Prince”?

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    On this interesting tour, we’ll learn about some skeletons in the closet! Was it one of his three wives, or another long-time lover, that Skiles Test kept in a glass coffin in his “House of Blue Lights” along Fall Creek? Why does one headstone say simply, “Mother of Rosalind” and not her full name, which would have been “Helen Orr Hufnall Phaff English Wegmann English English Prince Prince”? He followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather to become bank president, building himself a 40,000 square foot mansion on the east side of town, but by the time Stoughton Fletcher died, he’d lost the house, survived his wife’s suicide, a runaway daughter’s mysterious death, and was working as a hotel elevator operator in Los Angeles when his son committed suicide as well. On this tour we’ll discuss these lives and the lives of others who show us that money does not necessarily bring happiness. (Spoiler alert!)
    Note: this is not a creepy tour about ghosts, but a historical tour about some of the people buried at Crown Hill. This is a walking tour that will cover about a mile at a comfortable pace for most.
    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early.

    Less Details
    Saturday, Jun 15 Saturday, Oct 5
      $7 in advance online, $10 at the gate
      7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
  • Victorian Symbolism

    On this walking tour we’ll explore some of the interesting examples of Victorian symbolism on monuments and markers found throughout Crown Hill and try to understand what mean in the context of the era when they were created. If you’ve ever wondered about the unique tree trunk monuments, you’ll learn the meaning of the number of branches, as well as if they’re broken or not.

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    On this walking tour we’ll explore some of the interesting examples of Victorian symbolism on monuments and markers found throughout Crown Hill and try to understand what mean in the context of the era when they were created. If you’ve ever wondered about the unique tree trunk monuments, you’ll learn the meaning of the number of branches, as well as if they’re broken or not. Common symbols are flowers, ferns, weeping willows, stars, anchors, chains, draped flags, lambs, sun disks, serpents, angels, crosses, open books, and wreaths, just to name a few. Shown here is the top of the monument for Joshua Black (1788-1879), a carpenter from Maryland who relocated to Indianapolis in 1826 and is buried on Sec. 5. It shows a weeping willow and some stars. What do they mean? (According to the rest of his stone, Mr. Black was a First Lieutenant in the War of 1812, a member of the Council of Indianapolis and the Methodist Church.) Unlike many of our monuments and markers today which sometimes have engravings of literal representations to reveal the life of the deceased (a piano, dog, etc.), Victorian stones are highly symbolic. On this tour we’ll look at these symbols and try to understand what they say about the people buried beneath them.
    This is a walking tour that will cover about a mile at a comfortable pace for most. (Another tour of interest will be held on September 15 and is titled “Stones that Talk,” which will explore contemporary stones and what their more literal symbols and shapes they tell us about the deceased.)
    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early.

    Less Details
    Saturday, Jun 22
      $7 in advance online, $10 at the gate
      7:30 - 9:30 pm
  • Racing Legends

    This fascinating guided tour takes visitors to the resting places of racing legends from the Racing Capital of the World. Custom-made wayfinding signs point toward the graves of the four Speedway founders, Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Frank W. Wheeler and Arthur Newby.

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    This fascinating guided tour takes visitors to the resting places of racing legends from the Racing Capital of the World. Custom-made wayfinding signs point toward the graves of the four Speedway founders, Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Frank W. Wheeler and Arthur Newby.

    These signs are a continuation of projects planned with IRMA (Indiana Racing Memorial Association). In 2017, the Foundation partnered with IRMA to install the “Racing Legacy” sign on Section 13, down the hill from Speedway founder Carl G. Fisher’s private family mausoleum, and in 2018 they installed the “Final Finish Line,” a row of bricks a yard wide across the road.

    No Registration necessary.

    Less Details
    Sunday, Jun 23
      Free
      2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
  • Dillinger & Eastside Notables

    This walking tour includes the sections just north of the Waiting Station, which is a part of the cemetery not regularly covered on other walking tours. Bank robber John Dillinger’s grave will, of course, be one of our destinations. We will also stop at the graves of many other interesting and important people, and others – although unknown – have memorialized themselves with some rather unique monuments.

    More Details

    This walking tour includes the sections just north of the Waiting Station, which is a part of the cemetery not regularly covered on other walking tours. Bank robber John Dillinger’s grave will, of course, be one of our destinations. We will also stop at the graves of many other interesting and important people, and others – although unknown – have memorialized themselves with some rather unique monuments. This side of the cemetery features a number of beautiful angel statues and a couple of big lions. The photo above was taken on this tour while the group was visiting the memorial for Indianapolis 500 race car driver and car owner Tony Bettenhausen Jr. and his wife Shirley, who died in a tragic plane crash on Valentine’s Day 2000.
    This is a walking tour that will cover about one mile at a comfortable pace for most. 

    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early. 

    Less Details
    Saturday, Jul 27
      $7 in advance online, $10 at the gate
      7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
  • Treason in Indianapolis

    Led by Civil War expert and Crown Hill Tour guide Nikki Schofield, also the author of the Civil War novel, Treason Afoot, this tour explores the lives of men and women who were involved in the Indianapolis Treason Trials, which began in the federal courthouse in Indianapolis in September 1864.

    More Details

    Led by Civil War expert and Crown Hill Tour guide Nikki Schofield, also the author of the Civil War novel, Treason Afoot, this tour explores the lives of men and women who were involved in the Indianapolis Treason Trials, which began in the federal courthouse in Indianapolis in September 1864. The individuals involved were charged with “conspiracy against the government of the United States, conspiracy to aid the rebellion, and conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States.” If unfamiliar with the Indianapolis Treason Trials, you can read more about them in this piece written by William Rehnquist (1924-2005), former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, entitled Civil Liberty and the Civil War: The Indianapolis Treason Trials.
    This is a 90-minute walking tour that will cover about one mile at a comfortable pace for most. 
    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early.

    Less Details
    Saturday, Aug 10
      $7 in advance online, $10 at the gate
      9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
  • President Harrison’s Wreath-Laying Ceremony

    Join us as we celebrate President Benjamin Harrison’s birthday at his memorial on Section 13. President Harrison (1833-1901), our nation’s 23rd president, served from 1889-1893. He was an Indianapolis lawyer and later served as a Civil War Colonel in the 70th Volunteer Infantry. Harrison, a Republican, won the presidential election in 1889 and served one term.

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    Join us as we celebrate President Benjamin Harrison’s birthday at his memorial on Section 13. President Harrison (1833-1901), our nation’s 23rd president, served from 1889-1893. He was an Indianapolis lawyer and later served as a Civil War Colonel in the 70th Volunteer Infantry. Harrison, a Republican, won the presidential election in 1889 and served one term. His actual birthday is August 20, 1833, so this year we’ll be celebrating his 186th birthday a few days early. Ceremony participants will be announced. Refreshments will be available following the ceremony. The ceremony will be held in the event of rain but may be moved indoors.

    Less Details
    Saturday, Aug 17
      Free
      10:30 am - 11:30 am
  • Angels of Crown Hill

    Angel Visitations … Crown Hill is home to many angel statue monuments, from delicate marble angels of the Victorian era to very recent angels of granite and bronze. Most are very large with crosses, but one in particular is a very small marble angel featuring the words to “Silent Night” carved on its base in German.

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    Angel Visitations … Crown Hill is home to many angel statue monuments, from delicate marble angels of the Victorian era to very recent angels of granite and bronze. Most are very large with crosses, but one in particular is a very small marble angel featuring the words to “Silent Night” carved on its base in German. Angels are such a popular and important spiritual symbol in cemeteries, churches, and in the lives of millions of people, so it’s nice to pay special attention to them on a guided tour. Please join us as we stroll through a part of the cemetery to see some of Crown Hill’s angel statues during the beautiful “golden hour” of light leading up to sunset. Tour participants are encouraged to bring their cameras and capture images of these sacred statues in the special light. On this tour, we’ll also learn about the families who erected these beautiful statues and enjoy the stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the downtown Indianapolis skyline at sunset from the tomb of the famous Hoosier Poet, James Whitcomb Riley, high atop beautiful Crown Hill.
    This is a walking tour that will cover about one mile at a comfortable pace for most. 

    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early.

    Less Details
    Saturday, Aug 24
      $7 online, $10 at the gate
      7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
  • Dramas & Disasters

    On this fascinating new tour, visitors will hear the stories of spies, traitors, villains, and heroes as they visit the graves of men and women who lived during the Civil War. They will learn about the largest prison break, the murder of two Union generals, the death by firing squad of an Indiana school teacher, as well as other memorable events in our country’s history in the 1860s.

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    On this fascinating new tour, visitors will hear the stories of spies, traitors, villains, and heroes as they visit the graves of men and women who lived during the Civil War. They will learn about the largest prison break, the murder of two Union generals, the death by firing squad of an Indiana school teacher, as well as other memorable events in our country’s history in the 1860s. Pictured here is the large memorial for Abel Delan Streight, who was captured by C.S.A. General Nathan Bedford Forrest during the first Union raid into the South. His narrow escape from Libby Prison was the largest prison break during the Civil War.
    This is a 90-minute walking tour that will cover about one mile at a comfortable pace for most.
    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early.

    Less Details
    Saturday, Sep 7
      $7 in advance online, $10 at the gate
      9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
  • Stones That Talk

    On this interesting walking tour we’ll focus on more contemporary monuments and markers which often feature engravings of literal representations or quotes that reveal the life of the deceased, as well as stones that are actually shaped to represent that person’s interests. A few examples represented at Crown Hill are dogs, planes, pianos, boats, cars, music notes, birds, photographs, etc., as well as monuments shaped like barns, houses, etc.

    More Details

    On this interesting walking tour we’ll focus on more contemporary monuments and markers which often feature engravings of literal representations or quotes that reveal the life of the deceased, as well as stones that are actually shaped to represent that person’s interests. A few examples represented at Crown Hill are dogs, planes, pianos, boats, cars, music notes, birds, photographs, etc., as well as monuments shaped like barns, houses, etc. (It’s a variation of the Victorian Symbolism tour on June 24, which focuses on symbols on monuments and what they mean. Many of the earlier monuments have flowers, wreaths, weeping willows, draped flags, angels, lambs, etc., which all symbolize something other than what they are.) This tour stays fairly close to the Gothic Chapel and will include a drive to the top of the Crown at the end. Shown here is the large unique monument shaped like a singles tennis net with a tennis racket for Stan Malless (1914-2012), who is buried on the Crown down the hill from James Whitcomb Riley. “Game, Set, Match” is engraved on his monument, a tennis term to indicate the end of a match, and in his case, also the end of life. Mr. Malless was an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and as symbolized here, Indianapolis’ “Mr. Tennis.” He made major contributions to the sport locally, nationally, and internationally. He also brought professional tennis to Indianapolis and was responsible for the building of the downtown tennis stadium and getting tennis reinstated as an Olympic sport.
    This is a walking tour that will last approximately two hours.
    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early.

    Less Details
    Saturday, Sep 14
      $7 in advance online, $10 at the gate
      6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Heroes & Heritage

    This walking tour is held in conjunction with the popular Beyond the Badge 5K Run/Walk taking place next morning, Sunday, September 23rd. On the eve of Beyond the Badge 5K Run/Walk, tour attendees will learn stories of courage and sacrifice of some of our Public Safety heroes buried on the Heroes of Public Safety Section.

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    This walking tour is held in conjunction with the popular Beyond the Badge 5K Run/Walk taking place next morning, Sunday, September 22nd. On the eve of Beyond the Badge 5K Run/Walk, tour attendees will learn stories of courage and sacrifice of some of our Public Safety heroes buried on the Heroes of Public Safety Section. Jerry Baker, father of Sheriff’s Deputy Jason M. Baker (who was killed in the line of duty in September 2001), will be on hand to share stories of Jason and of others buried in the special section. In addition, this tour includes information from our popular Heritage Tour, which presents the history of Crown Hill Cemetery while visiting the graves of some of the many interesting people buried here, both the famous and not so famous, recent and long gone. A variety of monuments, including some of our most recognized statues, are included, as well as the view of the downtown skyline from James Whitcomb Riley’s tomb high atop beautiful Crown Hill.

    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early.  This is a 90-minute walking tour that will cover about one mile at a comfortable pace for most.

    Less Details
    Saturday, Sep 21
      $7 online, $10 at the gate
      6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Tombstones & Fall Trees

    Learn about the trees of Crown Hill & their human neighbors. On this tour, participants will see the impressive tombstones, and the equally impressive nearby trees (often much more impressive!), on this leisurely walk through the scenic grounds of the cemetery.

    More Details

    Learn about the trees of Crown Hill & their human neighbors. On this tour, participants will see the impressive tombstones, and the equally impressive nearby trees (often much more impressive!), on this leisurely walk through the scenic grounds of the cemetery. This tour will take a closer look at about 20 of the 4,100 trees in the cemetery, some of which are not native to Indiana. Among the trees, visitors will hear about some of the interesting people buried at Crown Hill, and what they did during their lives. Enjoy nature and history at the same time! Keep your eyes open for some of our White-tailed deer! Students are welcome to do a leaf collection. You can download a Tree Map from our Nature page
    This is a 90-minute walking tour that will cover about one mile at a comfortable pace for most.

    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early.

    Less Details
    Saturday, Oct 19
      $7 online, $10 at the gate
      9:30-11:00a.m.
  • Skeletons in the Closet Part II

    More skeletons! On this tour we’ll learn about the more sensational stories in the Indianapolis news from the 1860s to the 1970s. A few stops will make will be to learn about the infamous Nancy Clem and the Cold Spring Murders; bank robber John Dillinger; the rising executive slain by his mistress in the 1950s; grave robber Hampton West; the 1977 exploits of kidnapper Tony Kirtsis; Dr. Helene Knabe’s brutal unsolved murder in 1911; and the Marjorie Jackson case of 1977.

    More Details

    More skeletons! On this tour, we’ll learn about the more sensational stories in the Indianapolis news from the 1860s to the 1970s. A few stops will make will be to learn about the infamous Nancy Clem and the Cold Spring Murders; bank robber John Dillinger; the rising executive slain by his mistress in the 1950s; grave robber Hampton West; the 1977 exploits of kidnapper Tony Kirtsis; Dr. Helene Knabe’s brutal unsolved murder in 1911; and the Marjorie Jackson case of 1977. Of course, there are many others!
    Note: this is not a creepy tour about ghosts, but a historical tour about some of the people buried at Crown Hill. Participants will drive their own vehicles to each stop.
    Where to meet: Inside 34th St. Gate in front of the Waiting Station at 3400 Boulevard Place. Arrive 10-15 min. early. 

    Less Details
    Sunday, Oct 27
      $7 in advance online, $10 at the gate
      3:00 - 5:00 p.m.