Armed with the address of the cemetery courtesy of the book Baseball Roadmap and an article we found online by Greg Doyel, Andy Finch and I headed to the Floral Park Cemetery in Indianapolis hoping to pay our respects to Baseball Hall of Famer, Oscar Charleston.
Doyel’s writings were kind of helpful – he explains how he got there and drops a couple of hints in there. He lists a couple of nearby graves that helped us narrow things down, but to be honest – he led us down a rabbit hole in a different article about finding Mordecai Brown’s historical marker (it’s not on Adams Road, as his article suggests). And, he doesn’t tell you exactly where it is. (Still a nice article.) That led to an extended walk through the cemetery. We eventually found Charleston’s grave site, but Andy and I figured we might not be the only ones who might want to stop and pay our respects, so we’ll help you out and save you a little search time.
- Floral Park Cemetery is easy enough to find. The office is just off Holt Road and Cossell Road at the northwest corner of the cemetery
- So far as we can tell, there are only two ways into the cemetery and both are on Cossell Road.
- Based on the location information on FindAGrave.com you are looking for the Maple Lawn section.
You can’t find that section. There are no markings for it.
The first hint from Doyel’s writings is to find an area with hardly any trees in the back of the cemetery, where those who are buried there are likely to have been people with fewer means than those in the more tree-lined areas. And, there are hardly any markers that are above ground – most of them are at ground level (and covered with grass clippings or mud).
There are two areas that fit this bill more than others – and both are in the southern corners. The one to the southwest (and we checked) is mostly kids, toddlers and babies. The one to the southeast, though, is where we found Oscar.
So – once you are in the cemetery, head east until you find the mausoleums. Then, follow that road south. Along the way, before you make the hard right turn, you’ll see a small marker that reads “K 8” in front of a smallish tree with red hints in the summer leaves.
If you look along the ground, you should be able to make out what looks to be a cement line that starts near the tree by the marker toward another tree standing more or less by itself along that line. The cement line separates this area in half (you might see the number 4 scratched into it). With your eyes (and legs), follow that line to the small maple tree standing there. Close to it, unlike most of the other markers in this section, you will see a brighter white grave stone sticking out of the ground about three or four inches. You can’t really miss it. In fact, if you zoom in on the southeast corner of the Google map, you can clearly see the white marker by the smallish, lonely maple tree that is along that cement line that separates the section in half.
The really white marker is just below that tree that is along the cement line running right along the center of this section of the cemetery.
Oscar Charleston’s grave is the one immediately to the left (as you are facing the markers). On the picture above, it’s the marker right below the brighter white one just below the small maple tree in the middle of the picture.
So – enter the cemetery. Drive toward the mausoleums on the eastern edge of the main cemetery. Then, head south. Look for the K-8 sign. Park the car, walk straight along the marked line from the K-8 sign to the small maple tree where you will see a bright white marker. That’s not Oscar’s marker, but his is right next to it.