In the early 1800’s, in an area formerly known as New Pasture Point, in the Village of Pembroke, a small plot of land became the established burial ground for it’s townspeople. As the area grew, the name “Bridgeport” was coined, taking its title from the three bridges crossing the river and the development of it’s lively port.
By late 1860, growth furthered the expansion of manufacturing in the region, spreading into established neighborhoods and Pembroke Burial Grounds succumbed to the growth of the manufacturing age. Marcus Reynolds, a respected businessman who partook in the development of the cemetery was tasked with overseeing the important work of moving the cemetery. From 1872-73, the residents were exhumed and moved to their reverent location just a quarter mile down the road, on the city’s east side. Through the generosity of Bridgeport’s famed P.T. Barnum, the move allowed the cemetery to expand, when the showman deeded a parcel of land adjoining it’s new location.
As the city grew more prestigious, the cemetery trustees decided it was time for a name more befitting of the impressive grounds. On April 6, 1893 the name change was official and Pembroke Burial Ground became Lakeview Cemetery. A resting place full of natural beauty— towering pines, stately maple trees and views of Stillman Pond just outside the cemetery’s eastern most reach.
With the depression looming, the cemetery found it was in a position for further expansion by purchasing the former “Poor House” on Asylum Street. When the purchase was complete, burial space was abundant, so the newly acquired property was used to grow potatoes.
As history goes, the cemetery is home to the remains of several noted Bridgeport residents. In 1903, the passing of William Frisbie, founder of the Frisbie Pie Company was marked by funeral services at Lakeview Cemetery. It is said that not only were the pies delicious, their tins made recreational history as Yale students tossed them about campus. Marcus Reynolds, who went on to become a member of the Lakeview Cemetery Board, Bridgeport Police Commissioner and one time City Mayor, was laid to rest in shortly after the turn of the century. Gustave Whitehead, said to have accomplished powered flight years before the Wright Brothers, was buried in a pauper’s grave upon his death in 1927. A charitable donation allowed a headstone to be erected in the 1960’s. American Baseball League’s Rob Emmerich, centerfielder for the Boston Braves was laid to rest in 1948. Another resident of note is a former guard from the Bridgeport Thermostat Company better known as “Diamond Ted Lewis”, a famed sharpshooter from the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. It is said his funeral service was disrupted in order for his nephew to have the diamonds removed from his teeth back the late 1940’s.