Thursday, August 4, 2011

Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville: Pere Lachaise Cimetiere, Paris

Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville, July 2011

Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville
Walking through Pere Lachaise Cimetiere in Paris made me think about Old Gray Cemetery in Knoxville, which is our best known cemetery and our most beloved if you read Jack Neely, who mentions it often. I'd never walked through it, so I decided this would be a good time to do so. Never mind that the day topped out around ninety-seven degrees.

Maynard marker, Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville

Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville

Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville
Whereas Pere Lachaise measures 118 acres, Old Gray is a more modest 13 acres. Pere Lachaise has hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and is thought to be the most visited cemetery in the world. I had Old Gray to myself except for about five or six homeless people wandering about, one of whom directed me toward a really cool stone in the shape of a Coptic cross.

Swan marker, Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville

Parson Brownlow marker, Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville


A plaque at the entrance makes a point of the fact that a number of noted people in Knoxville and Tennessee history are buried within its gates, including a governor (Brownlow), as well as several senators and mayors. Indeed, the names of many streets and buildings in Knoxville are to be found among some of the more elaborate memorials. An additional marker notes the mix of Confederate and Union sympathizers buried in close proximity to one another, at peace at last.

Kern marker, Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville

Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville

Horne marker, Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville

Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville
It's a beautiful cemetery to wander through. I'd suggest a cool day, though the trees, even after a number were lost in the recent round of storms, give a great deal of shelter and combined with a slight breeze make for comfortable viewing on a summer morning. I photographed highlights as I walked through. I'm sure there are more treasures to be found, including interesting inscriptions which I didn't take the time to explore. 
Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville

Tyson marker, Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville

Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville
It's located just across Broadway from St. John's Lutheran Church which, in itself, is worth a walk up Broadway to see. I've never seen a church with spires quite like the ones it sports.

St. John's Lutheran, Across Broadway from Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville
I walked to the cemetery via Broadway, so the distance isn't that bad if you like to walk. You do have to walk through the mission district and you may have some homeless friends for company as you walk around, so if you are allergic to those folks, this may not be for you.

Armbruster monument, Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville

Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville

Mead monument, Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville
For those of you patient enough to read this far, I'll throw in a few bonus pictures from Pere Lachaise Cimeteire, Paris. With its scale and history, it was a stop for visitors to the city as early as the 1830's. It was one of the first places James Fenimore Cooper walked as he began his time in Paris. Enjoy.

Pere Lachaise Cimetiere, Paris

Pere Lachaise Cimetiere, Paris

Pere Lachaise Cimetiere, Paris

Pere Lachaise Cimetiere, Paris

Pere Lachaise Cimetiere, Paris

Pere Lachaise Cimetiere, Paris

Pere Lachaise Cimetiere, Paris

Pere Lachaise Cimetiere, Paris

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4 Comments:

At August 4, 2011 at 11:10 AM , Blogger Andrea said...

Have you seen the old cemetery down State Street next to the old Methodist church (I think it's the Methodist church, anyway)? It's really beautiful and surprising to stumble upon in the middle of downtown.

 
At August 4, 2011 at 5:22 PM , Blogger Knoxville Urban Guy said...

Hey Andrea, Yes, that is the First Presbyterian Church and I believe that is the oldest graveyard in the city. It contains many notables from early Knoxville history, including William Blount. Of special significance to me, I've stood just outside it's gates late at night on two occasions and got Willie Nelson's autograph and Bob Dylan's :-). Pretty good spot in my book.

 
At August 5, 2011 at 4:16 PM , Blogger Cindy Ellison said...

Wow, Willie AND Dylan's autographs! Excellent spot in your book. I liked this post and have been thinking of visiting Old Gray. There are lots of statues and stones there I would love to photograph for reference pics for drawing and painting. Several of my relatives are buried in New Gray Cemetery. Old Gray is beautiful during the dogwood blooming season.

 
At August 5, 2011 at 5:19 PM , Blogger Knoxville Urban Guy said...

Yes - both, though not at the same time. I'd encourage anyone to visit Old Gray - or Pere Lachaise would be even better.

 

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