February 24, 2011
This past Saturday, Elmwood hosted a large-scale tree pruning class as well as a History of Civil Rights Walking Tour. It was a beautiful day and there were a lot of visitors and volunteers, including Vincent Astor, a long-time volunteer tour guide. Vincent made a comment to me that stuck: "The biggest misconception about Elmwood is that the cemetery does not have any space for sale, and nothing could be further from the truth!"
Frankly, Vincent hit the nail on the head. Every day I meet people who have never been to the cemetery, not for a funeral service, a tour, or just to wander the grounds, and it excites me! It's the staff's chance to introduce Elmwood to new visitors and show them what is undoubtedly the most beautiful place in the city of Memphis.
All of this underscores what Vincent said, though, and that's the idea that Elmwood is closed for new business.
The truth is that Elmwood is old, yes - 159 years old, in fact - and that there are 75,000 people who rest beneath our ancient trees. There's room for 15,000 more, though.
Fifteen thousand might sound like plenty, but it isn't, not when you stop and think about it. The greater Metropolitan Memphis area has an estimated population of 1.2 million people. The number of spaces left at Elmwood represents 0.013% of that population. That's not a lot.
Elmwood has been around for a long time and it is not closing up shop, not now or ever. The Return to Elmwood Endowment Campaign has assured us of that. There is more activity going on at Elmwood and the surrounding neighborhood than there has been in well over 50 years. The history of Elmwood is secure.
I welcome one and all to visit Elmwood. If your find yourself drawn to this quietly enchanted place and are interested in becoming an Elmwood Family by purchasing a lot, let us know. We will help.