10 of the Most Magnificent Cemeteries in America

When we think of cemeteries we often think of depressing things such as death or spooky things like ghosts. However, cemeteries are not necessarily sad or scary places – they are places that are steeped in fascinating history and really have a story to tell. They are also the final resting place for many iconic people that have passed on over the centuries. America is home to many cemeteries, many of which are truly fascinating and magnificent such as the ones listed below.

1: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Tarrytown, New York

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Tarrytown, New York
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Tim Evanson

This is a cemetery with a rich and fascinating history and it is steeped in legend and folklore. Many of us have heard about the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow from writer Washington Irving and he is just one of the well known people that call this cemetery their final resting place. Others include Elizabeth Arden and Andrew Carnegie. This is a cemetery where you can take a walk on the dark side with lantern lit tours at night time coupled with spooky takes to send a shiver down your spine.

Address: 540 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

2: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Massachusetts

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Massachusetts
Photo Courtesy: wikimedia/Allowishus

While it may have the same name as the cemetery in Tarrytown, this particular Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is known for quite a different reason. Rather than being at the centre of folklore and legend, it is something of a literary shrine with an area known as Author’s Ridge, which is hugely popular with visitors. This is where you will find some of the most famous writers and thinkers in the history of the United States, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott of ‘Little Women’ fame.

Address: 34 Bedford St, Concord, MA 01742
Website: www.nps.gov

3: Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York

Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Marcela

When it comes to cultural history, the Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York is one that you should definitely visit. This is the place where many people involved in America’s cultural scene are buried, including Miles Davis and Irving Berlin. In addition to its cultural links, this cemetery is also known for its ghosts and at Halloween you can even take spooky walking tours where you can find out more about the supernatural stories connected to Woodlawn.

Address: 517 E 233rd St, Bronx, NY 10470

4: Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Ron Cogswell

Spanning 78 acres, this cemetery came to be after a local Quaker, John Jay Smith, decided that he wanted somewhere more fitting for his daughter’s burial than a local churchyard. His vision resulted in a burial place that is not only filled with natural beauty but is also serene and tranquil. In the late 1990s, the cemetery was designated a National Historic Landmark and it is filled with tens of thousands of monuments.

Address: 3822 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19132

5: Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina

Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Spencer Means

Once a rice plantation, this cemetery is the resting place of thousands of veterans of the Civil War amongst others. You will also find the tombs of many well known people from the history of Charleston at Magnolia, which is one of 3 cemeteries that are within close proximity to one another. Every October there are also Confederate Ghost Walks held here and even evening re-enactments that are carried out by candlelight.

Address: 70 Cunnington Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405

6: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Michael Dolan

One of the most popular urban green spaces in the area, Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is truly a sight to behold. With its incredible natural beauty and vibrant greenery, this is a place that is as tranquil as it is stunning. Its backdrop is the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty and it is also home to the Battle Hill site, which is where the biggest fight in the Revolutionary War took place. Of particular architectural interest is the huge and stunning Gothic style archway that leads you into the cemetery.

Address: 500 25th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232

7: Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, California

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, California
Photo Courtesy: wikimedia/Sean Russell

This was the first cemetery in Hollywood and dates back more than a century. There are many world famous Hollywood names that call this place their final resting home, which makes it all the more fascinating and popular amongst visitors. Here you will find the tombs of global icons such as Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Mel Blanc, and Tyrone Power amongst many others. The cemetery also plays host to a variety of events over the course of the year including a yearly Dia de los Muertos event.

Address: 6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

8: Graceland Cemetery, Chicago

Graceland Cemetery, Chicago
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Gerald Farinas

This attractive cemetery dates back to 1860 and this is where you will find many notable people from Chicago’s recent history buried. There are some stunning sculptures and tombs here and amongst those that that are buried here are one of the area’s first settlers, Dexter Graves, whose tomb has a sculpture of Graves in a hooded cape and looking at passersby. The brother of Charles Dickens is also buried here along with many Chicago politicians, executives and newspaper officials.

Address: 4001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613

9: Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta
Photo Courtesy: wikimedia/J. Glover

In 2008, this cemetery became the victim of severe destruction caused by a tornado but thanks to an influx of donations the cemetery, which dates back to 1850, was restored. You will find a diverse mix of ‘residents’ at this cemetery ranging from former mayors and politicians through to soldiers, business executives and even criminals. There are daytime tours available over the course of the year and if you happen to visit around Halloween you can enjoy the thrill of a night tour.

Address: 248 Oakland Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312

10: Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia

Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Tom Woodward

Another cemetery that boasts stunning scenery and greenery, this is the place where you will find the graves of former presidents John Tyler and James Monroe as well as the tomb of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederacy. There are also thousands of soldiers buried here, including some that are unknown and a pyramid structure in the cemetery honors these military men who gave their lives for the country.

Address: 412 S Cherry St, Richmond, VA 23220

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