Elmwood Cemetery - Memphis, TN

Garden Setting - Established 1852 - Extraordinary Monuments

Elmwood Cemetery, in a garden setting, is a living memorial to those buried here.  It is a treasure trove of the history of Memphis and some of its citizens, both famous and infamous. It is the oldest active cemetery in the area and burial plots remain available. 

On the left as you enter the grounds is The Phillips Cottage, an example of Victorian Carpenter Gothic architecture.  In the Cottage you can find information about the cemetery and rent the audio tour

The Phillips Cottage and is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The Audio Tour

The audio tour from your car is a good way to begin your Elmwood Cemetery visit.

Rent the audio CD in the cemetery office, and drive through the grounds following the directions given on the CD.

CD rental is available when the office is open. 

There are signs along the route indicating Audio Tour.  Especially historical people, those with interesting stories, and unusual tombstones are described as you drive through. 

The audio tour is full of information, plus it gives you driving directions.  I would strongly suggest you take a few minutes to study the tour map before beginning your drive.  Notice the first few places described are all close together. 


Elmwood Cemetery  is busy with various walking tours, tree tours, evening strolls, and numerous other events

The tour guides tell the history of Elmwood and repeat stories about some of the people buried here while leading groups through the grounds.

If you are going on a walking tour, wear your walking shoes.  While you will not cover the entire 80 acres, you will do quite a bit of walking.  It is not flat; you will be on some slightly hilly terrain and you do not stay on the paved drives. 

If you are visiting Memphis, be sure to check the Elmwood Cemetery calendar and

see if there is an event to attend.

The Grounds

Elmwood Cemetery is open every day, year-round, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The cemetery office is closed on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.

There is no admission fee to enter Elmwood Cemetery.

When the cemetery is open, you may drive or walk through the area without charge.

There is a charge for most tours. 

Elmwood Cemetery is on the National Register of Historic places. 

It is a Tennessee Urban Forestry Certified Arboretum. 

- Need to Know -

  • Elmwood Cemetery, located at 824 South Dudley Street, is approximately three miles from downtown Memphis. 
  • Before you go be sure you have your directions in hand, or the address loaded into your GPS as it does not look as if you are headed to a cemetery. 
  • There is a rental charge for the audio tour CD to use in your personal vehicle.  There are charges for events and guided tours. 
  • CD rental is available when the office is open. 
  • There is ample free parking available. 
  • Paved drives make the grounds easily accessible
  • www.elmwoodcemetery.org

YeaMemphis Tips – Be sure your vehicle has a working CD player and a passenger who knows how to operate it before you go.  You will need to use the pause button frequently.

The walking tours are very popular.  I have been on a walking tour.  Our well informed guide wore a microphone, and even though we were outside and had a group of 30 people, we had no problem hearing her presentation. 

I have taken the audio tour in a car twice.  The first time I was the driver, and it was not easy to stay on the correct path through the grounds, hear all the information, and find the tombstones being described. 

My two passengers were enjoying the drive and not providing much help.

The second time I took the audio tour, there were four of us.  Two of us had been on the tour before and watched the map to help the driver stay on the correct path. 

We had a much better experience since we all stayed focused on the tour and two of us helped with directions. 

It takes about an hour and a half to complete the tour.  As you get closer to the end, it is easier to lose track of where you are.  Stay focused on the map

The cemetery is less than 1.5 miles from Stax Museum of American Soul.  There is not a good walking route between the two.  If you are driving, you can easily visit both places the same day. 

Following the CD tour of Elmwood will take about an hour and a half leaving you plenty of time to visit Stax Museum.

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