In April 1886, the Board of Managers of the Michigan Veterans' Facility
set aside five acres for a cemetery. The Grand Rapids Post of the Grand Army of the Republic dedicated the cemetery on Memorial Day, May 31, 1886. The original cemetery was designed in the form of a Maltese cross with 262 grave sites in each of its four sections. In 1894 a granite statue of a Civil War soldier was placed at the center of the cross. By the time of its centennial in 1986, the cemetery had recorded over 4,000 burials of veterans and their dependents.