Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cemeteries Worth the Visit - Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky

Map of Grounds
Cave Hill Cemetery was chartered in 1845 by the Kentucky General Assembly.  The cemetery was to be created from the land that belonged to the William Johnston Family called Cave Hill Farm.  The name came about because of the 246-feet cave located on the east bank of the main lake. The main interest in this land was due to the stone quarries that existed on the property.  The cemetery was dedicated on July 25, 1848 with plans for the creation of a Rural Garden-style Cemetery.

Main Entrance
Cave Hill in the 1800's
The main entrance is located on Baxter Avenue.  Constructed in 1892, the Corinthian-style building boasts a 2,000-pound bell in the clock tower.  The second entrance is located on Grinstead Drive and was opened in 1913.

Springs Branch Lake
Cave Hill Today
Cave Hill is comprised of 296 acres of rolling hills, with winding paths and over 400 varieties of trees and shrubs – also making it a national arboretum.   The original Victorian Rural Cemetery landscape was laid out by Edmund Lee and Benjamin Grove.  Minor changes have been made over the years, but the tranquil feel and scenic beauty still remain the focal point of the cemetery.  The main lake that runs through the cemetery is part of the Springs Branch of Beargrass Creek.  The lake divides the early western section of the cemetery from the newer eastern section. Five other spring-fed lakes are scattered throughout the cemetery where over 120,000 are buried.

Last Supper Stained Glass Window in Mausoleum

A Family Mausoleum
The Ginkgo Mausoleum
Cave Hill has many captivating mausoleums on the grounds.  The cemetery also offers a hillside garden crypt known as the Ginkgo Mausoleum.  Lakeview Mausoleums is located in the Victorian section of the cemetery.  Family mausoleums are also offered.

Burial Plot Deed
Annual Care Plaque
Special Care is offered to those who own a lot and would like it planted or landscaped.  There are two types of special care; annual care and endowed or preservation care. Annual Care is available for almost all lots in the cemetery. It involves the lot holder establishing an account that pays for the annual care of flowerbeds, trees, shrubs, and other landscaping done on the lot.  Monument cleaning and holiday wreath laying may also be included.

Endowed Plaque
Admittance Certificate
Endowed Care or Preservation Care is where an individual may establish fund is set up to generate income during the year in order to pay for services in the following year. The interest earned on this endowment will pay the annual charge related to the services selected.

Colonel Harlan Sanders Grave

Grave of George R. Clark
There are many famous and notable people buried here including state officials and governors.  George Rogers Clark, founder of Louisville and the person most responsible for opening the Northwest Territory to settlers is buried here, along with Colonel Harlan Sanders, the originator of KFC – Kentucky Fried Chicken. The Kentucky Giant, James Porter, is also buried in Cave Hill.  He was billed as the world's tallest man, standing l7-feet, 7-inches in the mid 1800's. There are also numerous political figures here.

Cave Hill National Cemetery
Cave Hill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.  The Cave Hill National Cemetery is located in the northwest corner of the cemetery.  The first burials, in 1861, were soldiers who died at local camps and hospitals in Louisville. 

Moving Bloedner's Stone
for Repairs

Stone for August Bloedner
Twelve men of the 32nd Indiana Infantry Regiment, commanded by Brigadier General August Willis are also buried here. They were killed December 17, 1861 in a fight with rebels at Rowlett Station in Kentucky, the first battle Civil War in the state.  Private August Bloedner, a member of the unit, created a monument for the graves at Munfordville, Kentucky from limestone. In 2008, the National Cemetery Administration started preservation efforts to save the limestone monument.  Only about 50% of it’s original inscription and carving survive due to pollution and the elements.  Once preserved the monument will be placed at in appropriate facility for public viewing.

Over 5,500 soldiers are buried here, most from the Civil War.  Two hundred of those are Confederate soldiers.  A large plot exists for the remains of unknown soldiers of the Civil War.  A boulder with a plaque honoring them was put in place in 1914.  Cave Hill’s National Cemetery was placed on the National Register in 1998.

Cave Hill offers tours throughout the year.  Historical walking tours are held during the spring and autumn, and two civil war walking tours are offered during the year.  Twilight driving tours are held once a month on Sunday evenings from May through October.  And birding tours are held in May and September.  Check their website for updated 2012 dates.  http://cavehillcemetery.com/gwalking.php
Cave Hill Quarry
And, yes, there is a cave at Cave Hill but it is off limits due to the treacherous conditions it presents.

Cave Hill Cemetery is open every day from 8:00 A.M. to 4:45 P.M.  The cemetery is located at 701 Baxter Avenue and has easy access from I-64. The phone number is (502) 451-5630.

The Cave Hill Cemetery Facebook page is at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cave-Hill-Cemetery/107643782598235
And their web site is http://cavehillcemetery.com/

Cave Hill Cemetery
Cave Hill Cemetery is worth at least an afternoon, even a weekend if you want to truly enjoy the landscape and atmosphere of this gorgeous cemetery.

~ Joy