Graceland Cemetery is located in the NW 1/4 of Section 18 in Highland Township, Union County. In 1874, four business men organized the Creston Cemetery Association. They laid out a cemetery of 293 lots on ten acres west of Cherry Street and south of Ringgold Street. The cemetery soon became inadequate and in 1880, three of the four men formed the Graceland Cemetery Association and purchased anouther 20 acres in Highland Township and became Graceland Cemetery. The first burial was in 1881 and during that year and the next, all of the graves and stones from the Creston Cemetery were moved to Graceland. Graves from other cemeteries in the area were also transferred. The oldest was an infant daughter of William Wickham who died in 1861.
In 1903, the association was sold for $1,000. Graceland became a municipal cemetery in 1919 with the city plotting a central park in section F and offered lots for sale. However, Creston citizens successfully sued the city to halt burials there which explains why thee is no F section today.
In 1930, to stabilize the goverance and to make Graceland self-sustaining, the city council provided for a board of trustees and authorized it to manage the cemetery. At that time, the number of gravesites had reached nearly 4,000.
In 1941, The city purchased an additional 20 acres to the north of the existing site, but the first burial there was not until 1952. In 1987, a gift from the Olive Beckwith estated funded statues in the Gardem of Memories, Babyland and at the cemetery entrance. Today, Graceland Cemetery is home to about eleven thousand graves which are managed by a Sexton.