Abandoned Mid-South cemeteries lead to a push for a protection plan

Abandoned Mid-South cemeteries lead to a push for a protection plan
Abandoned Mid-South cemeteries lead to a push for a protection plan
Updated: Sep. 29, 2020 at 10:40 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With many overgrown and abandoned cemeteries in the Mid-South, the Shelby County Historian Jimmy Rout said there is a lot of investigating going on about these kinds of cemeteries, and a lot is planned to correct the problem.

“I want to visit my sister and my nieces, and my sister came a couple of months this ago. We couldn’t find her,” Lexus Taylor said.

Taylor spoke last week about her grief and frustration about not being able to find her sister’s grave at Rose Hill Cemetery. There were weeds are as tall as she was in some places.

“When I was first appointed county historian, one of the first calls I got was about abandoned cemeteries or neglected cemeteries,” Rout said.

Rout says he started looking into the complaints, visiting those cemeteries. He said he found a lot of them like Hollywood Cemetery, there’s is no name visible.

When WMC Action News 5 first arrived at Mt. Carmel Cemetery, we thought we were in the wrong place because you couldn’t see any grave markers. There is no name on the gate. If you look inside, you can see some gravestones but they are all covered in weeds.

Rose Hill Cemetery, Hollywood Cemetery, and Mt. Carmel Cemetery are in the Elvis Presley Boulevard area within a few miles of each other.

Rout says many of these cemeteries came about before the 1920s and were not required to form trusts to keep the property maintained. He also says maintaining the cemeteries would not require much, things like mowing the grass and putting up a fence.

He wants to develop trusts to do that.

He claims to be working with several partners who have plans to make that happen.

“We need to keep them because they are actually the remains of out loved ones,” Rout said.

Rout told WMC Action News 5 there is a plan that could be announced next month.

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