Oaklawn is a community cemetery without religious affiliation. It overlooks Carleton College. It was opened by the Northfield Cemetery Association in 1892. It's a picturesque plan with curvilinear paths and many shade trees reflect the park like cemetery design popular in the United States at the turn of the century. Oaklawn was carefully laid out to take advantage of the natural grades of the site.
Robert Watson, a local resident of Northfield and a native of Scotland, who had an interest in park and cemetery design prepared the plan. He worked for numerous years designing Gaklawn Cemetery by studying and sketching the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe and the United States. He has made a stunning creation in Oaklawn Cemetery.
It has been said of Oaklawn in our cemetery handbook that “landscapes of a peculiar type associate naturally and agreeably with certain events. Hence it is that the advanced sentiment of the age finds in the smooth undulation of wooded lawns, the silent responding of hill to vale, the stateliness of noble trees, the reverent benediction of leafy branches, the deep murmur of breeze and bough, the listening stillness of leaf and zephyr breath, the tintings of beautiful flowers, the soaring of wild birds, the broad band of noonday light upon the tall monument, and the soft glinting of broken sunbeams touching gently the humble headstone — finds in these, each and all blending, the harmony of elements that most beautifully and poetically express the hallowed memory and the joyous serenity and bright rest of dear friends who have ‘gone on before’.