Knox County Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville

4.2
Old Gray Cemetery is the second-oldest cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. Established in 1850, the 13.47acre cemetery contains the graves of some of Knoxville's most influential citizens, ranging from politicians and soldiers, to artists and activists. The cemetery is also noted for the Victorian era marble sculpture and elaborate carvings adorning many of the grave markers and headstones. In 1996, the cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places.Named for English poet Thomas Gray (1716–1771), Old Gray Cemetery is an example of a so-called garden cemetery, a mid-19th century style that sought the transition of graveyards from urban churchyards to quiet suburban plots. Unlike its crowded predecessor, the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Old Gray features spacious graves, grand monuments, and extensive vegetation, and its layout bears more resemblance to a public park. Playwright Tennessee Williams mentions Old Gray in his short story, "The Man in the Overstuffed Chair," and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Peter Taylor alludes to the cemetery in his book, In the Tennessee Country. The cemetery was simply known as "Gray Cemetery" until 1892, when "New" Gray Cemetery was established about a mile away.HistoryBy the 1840s, the garden cemetery movement, driven largely by the fame of Paris's Père Lachaise Cemetery, had gained popularity in France, England, and the United States, as planners in various large cities began building larger, more elaborate cemeteries in their respective cities' outskirts and suburbs. During this period, Knoxville's leaders sought such a cemetery for Knoxville, as many had incorrectly believed the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery (near the center of town) had caused a deadly epidemic in 1838. In February 1850, a board of trustees, led by East Tennessee University president William B. Reese, was appointed to buy land and sell lots for a new cemetery.
Put Knox County Old Gray Cemetery on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our Knoxville journey maker .
Source
Create an itinerary including Knox County Old Gray Cemetery
map
Knox County Old Gray Cemetery Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
56 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • I love to visit old cemeteries and could spend hours walking through them. However on the day we visited we did not get out and walk around the Old Gray Cemetery because the grass was knee high. We di...  more »
  • I could spend hours here wandering around. The oldest cemetery in Knoxville. Lots of shade and a very good map of the layout.  more »
  • The first time I took the bus and I was in awe of all the history here by reading all the old tombstones and looking at the ornate headstones that are NOT made anymore! The headstones were made by gre...  more »
Google
  • Unbelievably beautiful historic cemetery in downtown Knoxville. Wonderful headstones, vaults, monuments and obelisks. Resting place of many prominent Knoxvillians.
  • Spooky old place but pretty cool . . .

Plan your trip to Knoxville

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Knoxville

A high concentration of popular hotel chains are grouped downtown. These are all located within walking distance of the city's major attractions. A handful of quirky hostels offer economy lodging with character, as do the bed and breakfasts located in the Old City. The city's website provides a comprehensive list of all the city's lodging options, along with their locations and contact information.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Knoxville by other users

7 days in Knoxville & Akron BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, kids, popular PREFERENCES: February, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, teens, popular PREFERENCES: May, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: January, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 34 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, outdoors, romantic, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, outdoors, romantic, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 20 days in United States BY A USER FROM SWEDEN February, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 4 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Nashville & Knoxville BY A USER FROM BAHAMAS July, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM BAHAMAS March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: March, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans