Historic Locations > Woodlawn Cemetery
The Woodlawn Cemetery located in the city of Las Vegas was formally listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Nov. 21, 2006. The cemetery was created in 1914 when several prominent local women persuaded the Union Pacific Railroad to donate ten acres for a city cemetery. Woodlawn is an historic site along the Pioneer Trail.
Several notable and colorful Las Vegans are interred at Woodlawn, including prominent local attorney Harley A. Harmon, gunslinger “Diamondfield” Jack Davis and local farmers Bill Tomiyasu, and Frank Kim. Others of note at rest in Woodlawn Cemetery are “Nick the Greek” Dandolos, a famous gambler who lost $500 million before he died penniless in 1964, and eight Civil War veterans.
In pre-railroad times, the Paiute Indians and the few local ranchers set aside graveyards for family use. Other deceased were placed in an informal burial ground just north of Las Vegas Ranch. The markers for these graves eventually disappeared, and the burials were forgotten. In 1914, several prominent local women persuaded the railroad to donate ten acres of Las Vegas Ranch, just south of the unofficial graveyard, to be dedicated as a city cemetery. The city accepted the gift and chose the name Woodlawn. Since 1914, any early burials discovered outside the cemetery boundaries have been re-interred here.
Woodlawn management chose the gravesites for black citizens until 1939, when black residents asked for the right to choose their own plots. The city allowed a delegation from the black community to choose a section of the cemetery exclusively for black burials, and promised that Woodlawn would provide proper care of the graves.
The cemetery was nominated for the National Register of Historic Places by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, a city board made up of 11 community members who make recommendations to the City Council.
Woodlawn Cemetery nomination report