Founded in 1876, Bayside Cemetery encompasses 27 pristine acres on beautiful Bay Shore Drive in the Town of Sevastopol, just north of the Sturgeon Bay city limits. The earliest settlers to Door County were often were buried in existing Indian burial grounds; however, the Town wished to acquire its own cemetery.   The first purchase of property in 1863-1864 from Robert Graham, a pioneer merchant, was accomplished at a cost of $450. Despite burials there, the site subsequently proved unsuitable. A second purchase of acreage was made in 1865 for $170; however after the land was cleared and fenced, patrons realized that snow and ice made it inaccessible for three months of the year. In addition, the bedrock was only an inch below the surface in much of the area and the early settlers may have had a hard time acknowledging that Door County land was mostly limestone. A fitting and proper cemetery was a "must" so in 1866 the Town Board purchased the sandy hillside on what was then named Lake Shore Drive, just a few miles north of Sturgeon Bay village, which thus became the site of Bayside Cemetery, the largest in Door County and located in the Town of Sevastopol.

In 1867, the use of the first cemetery was discontinued and a deadline set for the removal of all bodies to the new location, with relatives to bear the expense of relocation. Any bodies unclaimed were buried in the Potter's Field at Bayside. The original cemetery property then reverted back to Robert Graham

Shortly after having established Bayside Cemetery, some additional complications were in store for the Town. A Mr. MacMaster had invested in a lumber mill, whose holds apparently included the land on which the Cemetery was located. He held a mortgage and proposed to foreclose. Such a protest arose from the Town residents that he finally agreed to give title to any group willing to take over the responsibility. A meeting was held in the County Judge's office in January 1876 to organize an association to take on responsibility for the Cemetery. The Bayside Cemetery Association is now the caretaker and provider, committed to preserving the cemetery.

Having been in existence for over 135 years, Bayside Cemetery is close to what people around the turn of the century thought a cemetery should be, namely, a green open space that could be considered uplifting and tranquil. It is recognized as a Door County landmark, a historic burial ground with a welcoming environment to bereaved families. In today's world, a cemetery is not normally viewed as a recreational or educational facility; however, the older part of the Cemetery contains a considerable number of interesting old monuments and grave markers which may merit a Sunday afternoon stroll.

More information can be found at the
Peninsula Genealogical Society


Frequently Asked Questions



A total refurbishing of the Pittinger Chapel has just been completed—inside and out.  An ample supply of chairs and tables can accommodate an informal indoor memorial service or gathering.

Bayside Cemetery Charitable Fund

Bayside Cemetery
3890 Bay Shore Drive, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
This website was created by the 2013 Sevastopol Web Technologies class