Cemeteries. Every city has one. They are mysterious, historic, haunting and, to me, fascinating. I developed a fondness for cemeteries as a boy.
Now whenever I’m out of town, I always make it a point to visit a cemetery. To me, they are better than any mountain range, skyline or other popular tourist attraction. They are hidden treasures containing a wealth of information about communities and the people who lived there.
Chances are you’ve visited one at some time in your life to pay your respects to a family member or friend, and perhaps you too appreciate the stories represented among the tombstones and monuments.
My travels take me to all over the South and Midwest, so I’ve decided to start documenting my cemetery visits with a series of photos in a new Sunday feature.
This week’s cemetery is Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, TN.
The moment I crossed over the dramatic arched Morgan Bridge, I felt like I was stepping back in time. The backdrop of the 80-acre cemetery is painted with elms, oaks and magnolias; it’s home to 75,000 people, including senators, governors, mayors, generals, singers, madams, martyrs, millionaires and veterans of every American war; it’s on the National Register of Historic Places; and it’s an official bird sanctuary and arboretum.
Some of the more famous residents include the Western outlaw Capt. Kit Dalton, Civil Rights leader Benjamin Lawson Hooks, Memphis Mayors John Johnson and A.B. Taylor, Major League Baseball player Monroe Randolph “Dolly” Stark and businessman and philanthropist Dr. Joseph Edison Walker.
Like many large cemeteries, Elmwood offers an array of tours: Elmwood and the Civil War Tour, the Memphis Music Tour and the Costume Twilight Tour, to name a few. There’s also a self-drive audio tour for visitors who have a limited amount of time.
If you go, be sure and check out the Carpenter-Gothic Cottage gift shop where you can purchased everything from walking canes to t-shirts and books.
Until next time….