HISTORIC ELMWOOD CEMETERY
After decades of using
Old Settler's Cemetery as the primary burial place for Charlotte citizens, the city created a new, "rural-style" cemetery with burial spots laid out in spacious patterns to match the surrounding topography. Elmwood and other cemeteries of this style became the first public spaces for relaxation and recreation, and many of Charlotte's citizens used the space for walks, picnics and even carriage races. The first recorded interments at Elmwood Cemetery date back to 1853.
While Elmwood and Pinewood cemeteries are operated as and appear to be one, they were separated by a fence and had two distinct entrances until 1969. That was when Fred Alexander, Charlotte's first Black city council member since the 19th century, successfully led a movement to desegregate the cemeteries. Historically, white citizens were buried at Elmwood Cemetery, while Charlotte's Black citizens were buried at the adjacent Pinewood Cemetery.
Many of Charlotte’s prominent citizens are buried in Elmwood, including the following:
Governor Cameron Morrison
Dr. Annie Alexander, the first female physician in the south
Phillip Lance Van Every, who started Lance, Inc. and was a two-term mayor
John Motley Morehead, U.S. senator and congressman
Randolph Scott, famed classic film actor
An array of unique and elaborate headstones and monuments can be found in Elmwood, such as the Severs log cabin, which was carved from one 15-ton piece of granite. The cemetery also offers beautiful views of uptown Charlotte.
Elmwood Cemetery is home to an astonishing array of tree species, many planted over the years by the families of those buried there. The cemetery became a certified arboretum by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program in 2017.
View a list of tree species and a tree map.
Wayfinding for biking and walking trails can be found at the West 6th Street entrance.
Learn more and take a virtual tour of Elmwood and Pinewood cemeteries.
Ossuary at Elmwood Cemetery