Stroll through the grounds of Pensacola's largest historic cemetery and you'll find the final resting place of prominent Pensacola business leaders, Civil War Generals, a Navy Cross recipient, a Florida governor, President George Washington's grandniece, the inventor of the shift key on a typewriter, and even one of the most infamous train robbers in U.S. history.

But that's not all. Look a little closer, and you'll discover a secret language on many of the grave markers, communicated by symbols and figures.

Welcome to St. John's Cemetery of Pensacola.

With 20,000 souls interned on its 26-acre grounds, many notable and notorious citizens rest within its hallowed ground. That's a lot of history. In fact, St. John Cemetery houses the largest and most diverse number of gravestones and monuments in all of Northwest Florida.

Founded nearly 150 years ago by a local Masonic Order, St. John's is one of Pensacola's oldest and most historic cemeteries that is still in use today. Originally established on the edge of town, St. John's served as Pensacola's primary burial site for more than 100 years.

In the late 19th Century, many of Pensacola's business leaders and government authorities were Freemasons and used the organization to fulfill the community's need for a new public cemetery to meet the changing demographics of the area. So in 1876 the Freemasons formed a special committee to raise funds and acquire the land to found St. John's Cemetery based on three cardinal virtues: Faith, Love and Charity.

Since its first internment in August 1876, St. John's Cemetery has been open to all citizens - there has never been any restriction concerning race, faith, creed or color within its grounds. It should be noted, that was a unique decision on the part of the Masonic Lodge members for that era.

Today, the cemetery's rich diversity is precisely what makes it so unique. Whether you are walking amongst ancestors or strangers, the sheer magnitude and variety of grave markers present in St. John's is truly fascinating.

And now it's even easier to identify the gravesite you're searching for thanks to a new interactive, informational sign located just inside the main entrance next to the Gatehouse. Funded by a $108,000 grant from Impact 100 of the Pensacola Bay Area, the double-sided sign features prominent gravesites and locations, a cemetery map, information on various grave markings and symbols, and even information on local flora.

Learn about the lives of former Florida Gov. Edward A. Perry; or Civil War Confederate Generals Samuel Gibbs French and William Millier; or Charles Bliss, the inventor of the shift key on a typewriter and the former mayor of Pensacola; or noted train robber Morris Slater, who became known as "Railroad Bill,'' a bandit and former circus hand who was involved in numerous gun fights and railroad heists and was shot and killed in a general store in 1896.

"St. John's Cemetery has a lot of stories to tell, and we want those stories to be heard,'' said Wesley Odom, Friends of St. John's Cemetery historian. "Our goal is for the cemetery to be more inviting and for the public to use it as an interactive, outdoor museum."

The cemetery's historic gatehouse and chapel also underwent a complete remodel, and a real-time, interactive cemetery tour video was also created for visitors to watch while visiting the grounds.

Ever wondered what some of the odd symbols found on the historic gravestones actually mean? For example: What is the meaning of an open book, or a solitary flame, or a weeping willow tree? Why are some gravestones shaped like a tree trunk or log? Why would someone leaved a boiled egg or coins atop a headstone?

To find out, you'll just have to visit St. John's.