HISTORY

The City Cemetery is the oldest continuously operated public cemetery in Nashville.  On March 9, 1820, the Mayor of Nashville and the Aldermen purchased from Richard Cross four acres of land located "on the plains, south of town, for its burying ground."  The cemetery opened on January 1, 1822.  Fourteen years later the cemetery had outgrown its original site and more acres were acquired.  By 1850 the cemetery was the final resting place for over 11,000 people of every race, religion and economic status.  Since the opening, there have been 20,000 interments in the City Cemetery. Over the years, there have been removals including the Civil War Federal soldiers to the National Cemetery, Gallatin Pike, C.S.A. soldiers to the Confederate Circle at Mt. Olivet, and the relocation of graves to new family lots in Mt. Olivet Cemetery after the Civil War.

Four of Nashville's founders, James and Charlotte Robertson & John and Ann Robertson Cockrill; American Revolutionary War soldiers Lipscomb Norvell, Joel Lewis, Anthony Foster; four Confederate generals: Felix Zollicoffer, Bushrod Johnson, Richard Ewell, and Samuel Read Anderson; the man who named the American flag "Old Glory," Captain William Driver; Union Navy Commodore Paul Shirley; a Tennessee Governor, William Carroll; 15 mayors of Nashville, and two of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers, Mabel Lewis Imes and Ella Sheppard Moore, also many slaves and free persons of color interred prior to the Civil War, are among those buried in the small and peaceful cemetery,  The City Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 because of its historical and architectural significance.

Come visit the Cemetery. Walk down the lanes and you will begin to feel that you have stepped back in time. Its quiet beauty can provide an escape from the busy world outside its walls.


KEEBLE BUILDING

Keeble Building Plaque
Click on Image to Enlarge

The brick building, located beyond the Hill family vault in the circle, was built in 1947, designed by Nashville architect Edwin A. Keeble (1905-1979). The City Cemetery Sexton used this building from 1947 until the late 1970s.  The Sexton kept the Interment Records, Deeds and Lot plans in this building.  The Sexton was employed by the City of Nashville to keep the records and be available to answer questions and give tours for visitors.  When the building was no longer used by the Sexton, the records were relocated to the Collection of Metro Archives.  The Keeble Building was renovated during the 2008-2010 restoration of the City Cemetery.  In the passageway of the building are informational leaflets about the City Cemetery for visitors and a large map, on the wall, depicting the Sections and growth of the cemetery over the years since the first purchase of land in 1820.

The plaque on the passageway wall of the Keeble Building reads:

" Erected 1947

Thomas L. Cummings, Mayor
City Cemetery Commission
J. W. Denis, Chairman
Stanley F. Horn
Mrs. Alex C. Hunter
W. H. Lambeth
Mrs. J. W. E. Moore
Edwin A. Keeble, Architect"

 

Report: 3-8-2015


 

RESTORATION HISTORY

New water line along the front entrance driveway and a back how at work in a side section.  An improved water system provides water for drinking fountains, new hydrants for watering flowers and for the restroom in the Keeble Building.

Improvements for the Keeble Building, built in 1946.  New uses for old spaces are planned with a future exhibit space on one side and restroom facility on the other side.

Flowers in full bloom in front of the Keeble Building.  The Master Gardeners, all volunteers, plant and maintain the flowers at the City Cemetery.

Flowers blooming in the bed tomb of Nancy Anderson, 1803-1874.

Restoration work shown in progress on the major monuments of Duncan Robertson, died May 1, 1833, and General Sam G. Smith, died September 1, 1835.

The brick base of the box tomb has been rebuilt to hold the heavy stone slab top for Irena Alloway who died on November 26, 1833, at age 37 years.

The obelisk for Thomas Crutcher, Mayor of Nashville in 1819, has been cleaned and repaired.  At the time of his death in 1844, at 84 years old, he had resided in Nashville for 60 years, since the pioneer days.

The distinctive monument for Edmund Crutcher, his wife Jane and daughter Mary Jane has been beautifully restored.  They died in Nashville
in the mid-1840s.

View of the restored monuments in the
Crutcher Family Lot.

Construction of a new fence based on an existing original post is completed.  The original iron chain was replicated to link the posts together.  Allen Jones Family Lot.

McCrory Family Lot, with brick circles and squares, has been planted with summer flowers by the Master Gardeners.

Washington Cooper has a new replacement tombstone in the Masonic Lot.  Members of Cumberland Lodge No. 8 attended his funeral on a hot summer day, 92 degrees in the shade, on June 22, 1871.

Broken slab on the box tomb near the Masonic Lot for Lucy Ann Hurt, wife of F. O. Hurt, will be restored. 

The tombstone for Rachel, wife of John Ward, who died on December 2, 1865, at age 37 years.  With conservation cleaning the lovely floral decoration can be seen as well as the names of the stone carvers, Shirley & Shane, Nashville.

Only a remnant of the original stone slab of the box tomb for John F. Hawkins, infant son of W. N. Hawkins, who died in 1842, at age 7 months and 4 days, exists.  Now this partial top has been placed on a new slab with a new brick base.

Scaffolding surrounds the obelisk in memory of William Smith, who was born in 1807 in Shropshire, England and died in 1855 in Nashville.  The obelisk, which has a serious tilt, has been
stabilized and straightened.

Restoration work at the Nashville City Cemetery was under the supervision of Fred Zahn, Metro Historical Commission.  The conservation firms of Dallas Upchurch & Dan Allen carried out the work.  To see an entire article by Fred Zahn, CLICK HERE.

The Nashville City Cemetery Association, Inc. is a membership organization that works to protect, preserve, restore and raise public awareness of the Nashville City Cemetery in collaboration with the Historical Commission of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.

The Nashville City Cemetery Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 150733
Nashville, TN 37215

© Copyright 2006 - Nashville City Cemetery Association

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