Memorable Cemeteries in Every State
Going to cemeteries suck. It’s never for a joyous occasion. They are one of the few places that humans face their mortality, which tends to make a lot of people uncomfortable. Pop culture has done a wonderful job of making cemeteries the focal point of horror films. From ghosts, to zombies, to vampires, odds are something bad is going down if there’s a cemetery scene in a movie. It’s about time we highlight cemeteries for something other than being the setting of a zombie apocalypse.
We decided to scour the internet to find the most memorable cemetery in every state. Every cemetery is unique, but these 50 stood out from the rest. Whether it be the architecture, the people buried there, or the history around the plot of land, each of these cemeteries has a cool story. Check out the list to see if you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting any of these cemeteries.
The biggest cemetery in Alabama is also the oldest cemetery in the state. Covering close to 100 acres, Maple Hill Cemetery is the final resting place of more than 80,000 people. Many U.S. congressmen and military figures are buried here. Maple Hill Cemetery is located in Huntsville, Alabama.
In Eklutna, Alaska, there is a cemetery outside of the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. Here, Russian and native Alaskan traditions merged, and out of the blend came what is called “spirit houses.” Families lay their loved ones to rest, then build a spirit house on top of the grave. It’s believed that the house brings comfort to the spirit.
Tombstone, Arizona is considered, by some, to be the most haunted place in the state. In the mid 1800s, the town mined more than $80 million in silver bullion. Many residents suffered gruesome deaths and they were all buried in the Boothill Graveyard of Tombstone. Tombstone has been featured on Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” and the Syfy series “Ghost Hunters.”
Evergreen Cemetery in Fayetteville is one of the largest historical cemeteries in Arkansas. Evergreen was originally a family cemetery on the Thomas family farm. It has now grown to cover over ten acres and holds more than 3,000 bodies. One exceptionally interesting story of this Arkansas cemetery is that of Adeline Blakeley. Blakeley was a former slave who chose to stay with the family that enslaved her even after the Civil War ended. She continued to work for the family, but was considered to be a family member. When Blakeley died at 95, the family wanted her to be buried at the family plot in Evergreen, but at the time it was a white-only cemetery. There are two stories about how she was accepted as the first African American to be buried in the cemetery. One is that Blakeley was so well-liked by the entire community that they allowed her to be laid to rest with her family. The other is that the family kept the casket closed and told everyone it was their aunt they were burying. Either way, this is a phenomenal story.
So many celebrities are buried in Hollywood. Forest Lawn Memorial in Glendale particularly sticks out because it’s the oldest cemetery in Tinseltown. Celebrities including Nat King Cole, Jimmy Stewart, Gracie Allen, Sam Cooke, Theodore Dreiser, Clark Gable and Michael Jackson are all buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Riverside Cemetery opened in 1876 in Denver. It was designed to be such a beautiful cemetery that families would spend the day enjoying the scenery while visiting their loved ones. Unfortunately, Denver took a different turn and industrialized much of the surrounding area, turning the countryside into highways. Many people exhumed the bodies of their family members and took them to a more peaceful location.
Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut is known for its incredible sculptures and monuments throughout the grounds. There’s an 18-foot pink-granite pyramid and a lifesize statue of an angel erected in memory of Mark and Angelina Howard. A monument commemorating Cynthia Talcott, who passed away at age two, has her face beautifully engraved in stone. One notable burial at Cedar Hill is Horace Wells, the discoverer of anesthesia.
Coffee Run Cemetery not only has a pretty unique name, but it also stands out because it is the burial ground of the first Catholic church in Delaware. This is a very small cemetery with only 50 graves, 12 of them being unmarked. The cemetery has been plagued with arson that destroyed the keeper’s house and barn.
The first Key West Cemetery in Florida was destroyed by hurricane in 1846. Bodies resurfaced and high winds and water scattered the bodies throughout the area. The new cemetery was established one year later. To keep this tragedy from happening again, many bodies are buried in above ground vaults and there is a high water table.
Savannah is an awesome city, so it’s only fitting that there are incredible cemeteries. Bonaventure Cemetery, just east of Savannah, became famous when it was featured in Clint Eastwood’s film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” John Muir, “The Father of Natural Parks”, stayed in Bonaventure for six days and nights during his travels to Florida.
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl Cemetery, is located in Honolulu. It was created to honor the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Before the cemetery opened, the remains of veterans from Guam, Wake Island and Japanese Internment Camps were transported to Punchbowl to serve as their final resting place.
Morris Hill Cemetery is in Boise, Idaho. The burial ground was purchased by the city’s mayor in 1882. The causes of death among those first buried at Morris are quite different than what’s common today. It’s noted that some of these people died from falling rocks and trees, snow slides, softening of the brain, and constipation. One lady buried here particularly sticks out: Annie “Peg Leg” Monroe. During the time of the Gold Rush, Monroe was a brothel owner. Apparently, she got stuck in a snowstorm, caught frostbite, and had to have both of her legs amputated. The park is open for self-guided walking tours.
Woodlawn Cemetery is located in Forest Park, Illinois. One section of the cemetery is called Showmen’s Rest. On June 22, 1918 a train traveling from Detroit to Chicago plowed into the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus train. The train’s engineer, the only passenger, allegedly fell asleep. Around 60 circus members were killed and were all buried in Showmen’s Rest because it was purchased specifically for members of the The Showmen’s League of America. Many of those that were killed were never identified. A majority of the markers read “unidentified male” and “unidentified female.” Apparently, members of circuses still choose to be buried there to this day.
Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis is the third largest non-governmental cemetery in the nation. The burial grounds covers 555 acres and there are over 200,000 people buried there. In the 1800s it became a popular location for recreational activities including picnics and walks through the park. Visitors enjoy beautiful views of the city from the grounds.
Vegors Cemetery in Lehigh, Iowa was originally used by Native Americans as a burial ground. When white settlers came into the area, many battles ensued. The settlers eventually won and took control of the sacred burial ground. They removed the Native American remains, destroyed the burial mounds, and began to use it as their own cemetery. Years later, Native American remains were returned to the cemetery and a monument was dedicated in their honor.
Stull Cemetery, located in Lecompton, Kansas, was listed on CBS News’ list of most haunted places in America. The University of Kansas student newspaper wrote an article about Stull Cemetery claiming that the devil visits the cemetery twice a year, on Halloween and the Spring Equinox. Four years after the article was published, on March 20, 1978 over 150 people came to the cemetery to wait for the devil’s arrival. There were no reports of any sightings that night.
Pikeville Cemetery in Pikeville, Kentucky is known for a chilling story. In 1891, Octavia and James Hatcher welcomed their first child. Unfortunately, the baby soon passed away and Octavia grew ill and fell into a coma. Shortly thereafter, doctors pronounced her dead. Since it was a hot day, James buried her immediately. Other community members began falling into comas, but they survived. James realized that maybe Octavia was still alive when she was buried. They exhumed her body and saw scratch marks on the roof of the casket and Octavia had bloody fingers. Yikes.
Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1 is one of the famous cemeteries in New Orleans. Marie Laveau, the notorious voodoo practitioner, is buried in her husband’s family tomb in this cemetery. Legend says that Marie Laveau will grant you a wish if you mark three x’s on the tomb, turn around three times and yell out your wish. If it comes true, you must come back and mark a circle around the x’s. To prevent vandalism, the public is no longer allowed to visit the cemetery without a tour guide.
Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor, Maine is one of the locations Stephen King used to shoot the horror film “Pet Sematary.” Mount Hope is 184 years old and was America’s second garden cemetery.
Green Mount Cemetery is located in Baltimore. The cemetery was dedicated in 1839 and is the final resting place of important historical figures, like John Wilkes Booth. Visitors ironically leave pennies on his grave, because it has Abraham Lincoln’s face on it. There are intricate statues and monuments throughout the cemetery. Tourists can schedule a walking tour of the grounds.
Charter Street Cemetery in Salem, founded in 1637, is the oldest cemetery in the town. Important members of the early community are buried in this cemetery. Directly behind the cemetery is the Salem Witch Trial Memorial. Both are open to the public from dawn to dusk.
Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit has been awarded a wide array of certifications. It’s the oldest continuously running, non-denominational cemetery in the state. Since there are so many abolitionists buried in Elmwood, the cemetery’s foundation decided to fulfill the requirements to become a significant site for the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom by the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior.
Oakland Cemetery in St. Pauls is the oldest public cemetery in Minnesota. It was founded five years before Minnesota became a state, in 1853. The first plots sold for just $3.15. In 1870, survivors of the Civil War organized Decoration Day, what is now known as Memorial Day, at Oakland Cemetery. More than 1,500 veterans are buried at this cemetery.
There are many interesting tombstones and monuments in Natchez City Cemetery in Natchez, Mississippi, but one tomb stands out from the rest. Florence Ford was only ten when she died from yellow fever in 1871. Apparently, Florence was always scared of storms. In order to comfort her in the afterlife, her mother had Florence’s casket built with clear glass at the head and steps that went down to the level of the casket. Overhead, the doors closed to protect her mother from the storm. The contraption is still visible today, but the glass was covered with cement to prevent vandalism.
Mineral Creek Cemetery in St. Louis Prairie has an interesting origin story. A couple was traveling West with their young children. Unfortunately, one of the children passed away while they were passing through this small town. Much of the area is covered with tall prairie grass, but the town was constructing a new church, so that area was clear. The couple gained permission from the church to bury their child on the property. From there on, people began to bury their loved ones at the church and the congregation took take of the cemetery until it grew too large for them to continue to do so.
On June 8, 1917, 168 men were killed in the Spectacular Mine disaster in Butte, Montana. A fire was ignited by a carbide lamp. Most of the men died of asphyxiation, but some survived for a couple days in the tunnels. A few lucky men were rescued after being stuck underground for 55 hours. The remains of the men were buried in Mountain View Cemetery where there is a memorial to the victims of the disaster.
Ball Cemetery in Springfield, Nebraska is said to be guarded by William “Rattlesnake Pete” Liddiard. One small catch: Rattlesnake Pete is dead. He was a United States Marshal who left his hometown to join the famous “Buffalo Bill” on the road. Although he died along the West Coast, his body was returned to Springfield. According to local legend, he now he patrols the perimeter of the cemetery and appears to unwanted visitors as a dark shadow.
Goldfield Historic Cemetery in Goldfield, Nevada is one of the many ghost town cemeteries located in the state. Although visitors would never guess it today, Goldfield was one of the largest mining towns in the country. It’s known as “The Last Great Gold Camp.” Many of the headstones describe how the person died: “Gunshot By Deputy Sheriff”, “Man Died Eating Library Paste.”
- New Hampshire
The two victims of the Smuttynose Island murders are buried in South Cemetery of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Three immigrant women were left alone on the island off the coast of New Hampshire. One woman got away from the attacker and she was able to identify him and the man was later hanged for his crimes.
- New Jersey
The Old Tennent Cemetery in Manalapan, New Jersey was established in 1731. It’s said that a Revolutionary War battle occurred in 1778 on the cemetery grounds, and the church was used as a makeshift hospital. The battle was called the Battle of Monmouth after the county Manalapan is in.
- New Mexico
A cemetery in Santa Fe, New Mexico was overrun by a prairie dog colony. These rodents sought refuge in Fairview Cemetery after construction drove them out of their original habitat. In 2004, NPR reported that prairie dogs were “displacing bones and pieces of buried caskets.” Years later in 2010, the Santa Fe New Mexican quoted the Cemetery Association President Eric Mason in regards to gassing the prairie dogs: “Instead of paying $100 per prairie dog to remove them, I can gas them for $1.80.” The issue has since been resolved and a wall was erected to keep more prairie dogs from entering the cemetery.
32. New York
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow is the cemetery and town that inspired Washington Irving’s “Sleepy Hollow.” The town was originally known as North Tarrytown, but was changed in 1996 to honor Irving. Along with Elizabeth Arden, the makeup entrepreneur, and Walter Chrysler, the founder of the car company, Irving is also buried here.
- North Carolina
Salem Moravian Graveyard, located in Salem, North Carolina is also known as God’s Acre. Every Moravian cemetery takes on this nickname. What sets this cemetery apart from others is that, following Moravian tradition, every headstone is exactly the same: a flat white plaque. This is because this Protestant sect believes that everyone has the same level of importance in God’s eyes; in death, all are equal. Over its course of 250 years in existence, over 7,000 people have been buried in God’s Acre of Salem.
- North Dakota
Riverside Cemetery in Fargo, North Dakota is the oldest in the area. The first burial took place in 1878 and the cemetery was established in 1879. The original owners of the hallowed ground were respected members of the Fargo community.
The Athens Lunatic Asylum, now known as The Ridges in Athens, Ohio, has three on-site cemeteries. When patients would die while admitted to the hospital, families were able to make their own arrangements, but if the family could not be contacted or if they refused to come, the patient would be buried on hospital grounds. The headstones given to the deceased have no names or dates, only the patient’s hospital number. There are 1,930 men and women buried at The Ridges.
Violet Springs Cemetery in Konawa, Oklahoma is the final resting place of a woman named Katherine Cross. According to her headstone, she was 18 when she died and she was “murdered by human wolves.” That’s a pretty cryptic message, but historians say that Cross actually died from a botched abortion, not werewolves.
Lone Fir Cemetery in Portland, Oregon is the city’s oldest and largest cemetery. The land was originally owned by James and Elizabeth Stephens; James’ father was buried on the property. The Stephens sold their farm to Colburn Barrel, who owned a steamboat. Years after, Barrel’s steamboat exploded, killing his business partner and many others. Barrel buried the victims alongside James’ father and thus began the Lone Fir Cemetery. It has grown to span over 30 acres and there are over 250,000 people buried in this Portland cemetery.
Hankey Church Cemetery in Murrysville, Pennsylvania is supposedly where a pastor of the Hankey Church was hanged for adultery in the 19th century.
- Rhode Island
Mercy Brown is a pivotal figure in the New England Vampire Panic. In the 19th century, tuberculosis was spreading like wildfire. The people of New England began to believe that when a family member died from tuberculosis, they drained the rest of their family with the sickness in order to hang on to life, thus being a vampire. The only way to prevent the rest of the family from suffering the disease was to exhume the “vampire’s” body. If they still had blood in their organs or they were still in the early stages of decomposition, although they had been dead for a while, they were considered to be a vampire. From there, the body’s organs were removed and burned, and occasionally decapitated. In Brown’s case, her body was burnt, her remains were mixed with water, and given to her brother to drink to keep the sickness from attacking his body. It obviously didn’t work.
- South Carolina
The St. Philip’s Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina was created for the first congregation in the state, the St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. One interesting story about the property is that in the 18th century, the church suffered a fire. A slave extinguished the fire before the entire church was engulfed. For this heroic act, the slave was awarded his freedom.
- South Dakota
Mount Moriah Cemetery is found in Deadwood, South Dakota. It was created to suit the growing population during the Gold Rush. There are many divisions of the cemetery that is built into the side of a mountain. There’s a section specifically for the Jewish community, a mass grave site for victims of a mining fire, veterans, and unfortunately a portion just for children.
Old Gray Cemetery in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee was designed to last for centuries. Founded in 1850, the cemetery reflects the history of Knoxville. The cemetery is the final resting place to people of all walks of life, which can be seen in the diverse monuments, mausoleums and unmarked graves.
Baby Head Cemetery is located in what is now known as Llano, Texas. The cemetery and town, that was also formerly known as Baby Head, were named after Baby Head Mountain. According to local legend, Native Americans abducted a small child from the town and left her remains at the base of the mountain, thus Baby Head Mountain. The first person to be buried in Baby Head Cemetery was, yet another, young girl named Jodie McKneely in 1884.
Ogden City Cemetery in Ogden, Utah stands out because of its breathtaking scenery. This is a place anyone could rest eternally for the beautiful views alone. The cemetery was established in 1851.
Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven, Vermont is a pretty standard cemetery, aside from Dr. Timothy Clark’s tomb. Dr. Clark lived in fear of being buried alive. To prevent his worst nightmare from coming true, he installed an underground staircase that leads to the surface of his grave. He was buried with a breathing tube and a bell. At the surface level of his grave, he had a clear window installed so he could be checked in on. He died in 1893 and apparently he really was dead because he didn’t use his escape route.
The Alexandria National Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia was one of the country’s first national cemeteries. It mainly serves as burial grounds for Union soldiers. It’s lack of vacancy during, and after, the Civil War is what led to the opening of the Arlington National Cemetery.
Black Diamond Cemetery was established in Black Diamond, Washington in 1886. That’s three years before Washington even became a state. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. The cemetery is made up of coal miners and their families.
- West Virginia
Soule Chapel Methodist Cemetery in Meadow Bluff, West Virginia is the final resting place of a woman named Zona Heaster Shue. According to local legend, shortly after her mysterious death, Zona’s ghost appeared to her mother and recounted that she had been brutally murdered by her husband. Zona’s mother went to the police and they exhumed her body. Due to the details Zona’s told her mother, the police were able to convict Zona’s husband of murdering her.
Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee was established in 1847. It was later discovered that this land was also a Paleo Indian burial ground. The cemetery has over 60 earthworks, or mounds that hold the bodies of early Native Americans. This cemetery is so rich in history, holding the bodies of famous politicians and mayors as well as Jacob Best, the founder of Pabst Brewing Company.
Sacajawea’s Cemetery on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fort Washakie is the final resting place of one of the most famous women in American history: Sacajawea. This Native American woman guided famous explorers Lewis and Clark on their expedition across America. Six years after their journey, Sacagawea died after giving birth to her daughter. One little known fact is that eight years after Sacagawea died, Lewis adopted both of her children.
Every cemetery deserves recognition, but what is the most memorable cemetery you have been in and what made it so unforgettable? Let us know in the comments below!