Oakdale Cemetery was originally Sylvan Park in 1882. On November 20, 1891, a group of civic-minded ladies met to form an association to do what they could do to improve their city. The organization became "The Women's City Improvement and Protection Association of DeLand,Florida." A constitution was presented, read and adopted and both the organization and the constitution became the first of their kind in the town of DeLand.
On January 5, 1892, the group wrote to Mr. H.C. McNeill, the owner of record, for his lowest price and best terms foe purchase of the cemetery. He agreed to sell the Association the cemetery for $200.00 cash as long as they also paid the cost of the deed. The offer was accepted.
Now here is the fun part. While these negotiations were going on, the ladies were already trying to raise the money...putting on spaghetti dinners and things like that. But they were also doing something ingenious...as a fundraiser they were already contracting to sell plots in the cemetery that they did not own yet.
The ladies succeeded. In four months time - April of 1892 - the cemetery committee reported that the deed from Mr. McNeill was at the bank and ready for delivery...and by May 10th the ladies had the money they needed.
In June 1892, an iron gate was erected at the entrance for a cost of $15.75. The gate today would be worth over $1000.00. It remained at the entrance until sometime in the 1970's, when it was removed for convenience (caretakers had to lock and unlock the gate every morning and evening, and kids just climbed it and got in anyway). Nobody seems to know what happened to it; it has probably rusted away. You can still find pictures of it - mostly vintage postcards.
On October 13, 1892, a vote was taken to name the cemetery. And so it became the "Oakdale Cemetery". They began to print circulars and mailed them to the owners to let them know about the terms and prices for lots. They also drew up a petition to have the street by the cemetery named Oakdale Avenue and have the street regularly opened.