elmwood cemetery is the oldest active cemetery in memphis, and it is pretty famous in the city. there are politicians, abolitionists, generals, and madams buried side-by-side over its sprawling grounds, and each resident has their own story to tell. which is exactly how elmwood likes it.
there are all sorts of tours available year-round, and each tour is told in the voice of some of elmwood’s most illustrious residents. one of elmwood’s most well-known offerings is the ghost tours they do in the weeks leading up to halloween, when the cemetery stays open late and visitors are able to walk the grounds and night and interact with some of the famous memphians who are buried there.
elmwood’s ghost tours have been on my list for years, and katie milligan and i were able to snag tickets to the event this year. we met some badass women, including one who fought for women to have the right to vote, one who ran her own brothel and treated the stricken during the yellow fever epidemic, and one who advocated for the importance of educating all of memphis’ citizens. we also met elmwood’s founder, an opera diva, the first african-american principal of a school, and a former writer for the daily memphian.
we had a great time wandering through as the sun was setting and learning about the history of the grounds and of the city and how the two are intertwined. i definitely plan to return soon and do another tour.
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