Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Elmwood Cemetery

Elmwood Cemetery, founded in 1852, is the oldest active cemetery in Memphis. Fifty citizens put up $500 each to purchase and develop a 40-acre parcel of land. Another 40 acres were added later.

The name Elmwood was selected by a drawing from a list of proposed names. Elm trees had to be planted afterwards. 

This non-denominational cemetery is the final resting place for over 70,000 people of all races, occupations, and social statuses. Former mayors and generals rest alongside gamblers and gentlemen, grocers and steamboat captains, and hundreds of nameless yellow fever victims.

Elmwood was part of the so-called rural cemetery movement of the 19th century. Cemeteries with open public spaces, elaborate monuments, and statues of the dead were considered beautiful places. They accommodated the rituals of mourning and relaxation in a setting that was designed for both. Families came by carriage and streetcar to visit the departed, picnic, and meet friends.

Elmwood is open daily. Self-guided and guided tours are offered.

To learn more about all of our region's history, visit the Pink Palace Family of Museums, or on Facebook, or at

My mother introduced me to WKNO-FM and public radio long before I can remember. I suppose the first thing I really recall about WKNO-FM is that every afternoon, when my mother picked me up from school, the radio was tuned-in to The World, then All Things Considered, probably beginning around age 8. The way these reporters and hosts took you from the comfort of your mom's van to wherever in the world they were reporting from absolutely fascinated me. From then on, I was officially hooked.
Related Content