By 1854, it was quite apparent that Red Wing surveyors needed to acquire suitable land for a community burial ground. David Hancock and S. A. Hart were commissioned to select a proper tract of land. They chose a 35-acre bluff in south Red Wing which was sold for $3.50 per acre. In 1857, the first deed was recorded. In 1864, the grounds were platted by order of the City Council and the following year, the space was named Oakwood Cemetery.
In 1907, the Betcher Memorial Chapel and Blodgett Memorial Arched Gateway were built and dedicated. The chapel was a gift to the city from Margaret Betcher in memory of her husband, Charles.
When the chapel was built, it was widely acclaimed for its practical usefulness as well as for its beauty. Every convenience for mortuary chapels of that time was provided for.
The octagon-designed chapel was built with the finest Red Wing stone of the time and featured a red tile roof with copper trimmings. Inside, the tile floor, ash and marble accents enhance the chapel's magnificence. Opalescent stained-glass windows of Gothic design are at the sides, front and back of the chapel and give an added dignity and beauty.
The arched gateway, a gift from Elijah H. Blodgett, is massive, yet graceful. Its wide carriage arch is flanked by two smaller arches. Like the chapel, the gateway is made of durable Red Wing stone. The gateway and the chapel complement each other and provide added dignity and grace as memorials.
The Oakwood Cemetery Web Mapping Application includes information on grave occupants, plots, and sections and is useful for anyone interested in genealogical research.