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Beneath the Elms

By Linda Tancs

In Memphis, Tennessee, you’ll find a historic cemetery, bird sanctuary and arboretum all in one place:  Elmwood Cemetery.  Some of the 80-acre property’s 1500 trees at this level two Tennessee State Arboretum date to the cemetery’s founding in 1852.  Beneath the grounds’ ancient elms, oaks and magnolias rest those responsible for creating the city’s history, including war veterans and public servants.  One of the first rural garden cemeteries in the South (characterized by a park-like setting, sweeping vistas, shady knolls, ancient trees and monuments), structures like the dramatic Entry Bridge and Phillips Cottage (the only known example of Victorian Carpenter Gothic architecture in Memphis) are on the National Register of Historic Places.  Docent-led tours as well as car audio tours are available.


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