Cave Hill Cemetery traces its history to 1846, when the mayor and city council set out to develop what soon became a “garden” cemetery, which by then was a concept gaining popularity in major U.S. cities.
Edmund Francis Lee (1811-1857) convinced the city to use the natural features of Cave Hill, which had previously been considered undesirable for burial purposes. “Its promontories would become the primary burial sites,” the cemetery says on its website, “and roads to these hilltop circles would curve gently, following the natural contours of the land. The intervening basins would become ponds or be planted with trees and maintained as reserves. The garden setting would be a natural backdrop for the lots and monuments.”
The history continues: “In the Victorian period, personal wealth increased, as did family aggrandizement. The garden cemetery became the repository of symbols of success in the form of true monumental art.”
Cave Hill’s famous inhabitants range from KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders to philanthropist Preston Pope Satterwhite and his beautiful pink Italian marble Memorial Temple, patterned after Marie Antoinette’s at Versailles. Prize fighter and humanitarian Muhammad Ali was buried there in June 2016. The affiliated Cave Hill Heritage Foundation offers tours.
The cemetery is at 701 Baxter Ave. The phone number is: 502-451-5630.
The cemetery gets substantial financial support from two non-profits, both of which have GuideStar profiles: Cave Hill Investment Co. and Cave Hill Cemetery Co. There, you can find current IRS tax returns with annual revenues, expenses, compensation to top officers and other financial information.
Read more about Cave Hill on Boulevard.