Chances are, if you’re a famous dead Memphian, you’re buried at Elmwood, one of the city’s oldest cemeteries. Same goes for those who have midtown streets named after them (Goodletts, Overtons, Crumps, Vintons, etc.).
Elmwood was founded in 1852 as part of the Rural Cemetery Movement. It’s almost more park than cemetery. There are hills and winding roads and plenty of trees that lean dramatically over ornate monuments of angels, flowers and logs. The place is huge (about 80 acres) and seems to be divided into different “neighborhoods”.
Much like Memphis, Elmwood Cemetery has a little bit of everybody: politicians, former slaves, yellow fever victims, criminals, musicians, millionaires, madams, civil rights leaders, writers, and preachers all rest there.
Elmwood has all sorts of events during the year. There are lunchtime lectures, a 5K run through the cemetery, guided and audio tours. One of my favorite events is the annual Costume Twilight Tour. People in costumes play some of the most notable Elmwood Cemetery residents. Tickets are available for this year’s tour, which is this weekend, Oct 24th at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
824 S Dudley St
Memphis, TN 38104-6005
Check out all of the photos I took at Elmwood here.