History of Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens

Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens was established in 1955 as a Central Catholic Cemetery. George T. Shapen became the owner in 1983. He owned several cemeteries and was responsible for developing many of the gardens and features in the cemetery. The Garden of Freedom was designed around a full-size copy of the Liberty Bell, which originated as a traveling educational tool in the 1970s for local schools. After the bell completed its school rounds and was available, Mr. Shapen obtained it to create the Garden of Freedom. The garden features a gazebo where the bell is safely housed. It is tolled only on one occasion during the year when the names of all the wars are read, and it is rung after each war to honor all the soldiers that served.

Mr. Shapen also developed the Garden of Inspiration, Garden of the Lake, Garden of Friendship and Garden of Peace Mausoleum, as well as the completion of the Eternal Love Garden and Christus Garden. He retired in 1997 and the property later became part of the Dignity Memorial® network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers.

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