Romanesque gatehouse and office
of Lexington Cemetery
Photograph by Eric Thomason, courtesy of Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation
The nationally reputed garden cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky,
is the burial site of many notable Kentuckians. Lexington Cemetery
was the first rural cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky. The burial
ground was originally established in 1849 on 40 acres of land
but the acreage was eventually increased to 170 acres. At the
entrance to the cemetery is a Romanesque style gatehouse built
in 1890. The cemetery also contains an arboretum and a wide variety
of plants, shrubs, trees and flowers. There are also two large
lakes that provide a home for ducks, swans, and other waterfowl
plus hundreds of large goldfish. The Romanesque gatehouse was
built in 1890, after the original Gothic gatehouse built by local
builder John McMurty was torn down.
Henry Clay Monument
Photograph by Eric
Thomason, courtesy of Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation
Located in the center of the cemetery is a magnificent monument
to Kentucky's famous senator and three time presidential candidate,
Henry Clay. Clay served as a United States Senator and Representative
from Kentucky during the period of the War of 1812 up to the decade
preceding the Civil War. Henry Clay was best known for his attempts
to secure a compromise between the states on the issue of slavery.
The monument was erected in 1857 after Clay's death in June 1852.
The monument was built using native limestone and consists of
a 120-foot tall Corinthian column surmounted by a statue of Clay.
The remains of Clay and his wife Lucretia rest in two marble sarcophagi
on the floor of a vaulted chamber at the base of the monument.
The cemetery also incorporates one of eight national cemeteries
in Kentucky and contains the remains of both Union and Confederate
soldiers as well as veterans of the Spanish-American War. Other
notable Kentuckians who are buried in the cemetery include: John
C. Breckinridge, Vice-President of the United States under James
Buchanan and general in the Confederate Army; James Lane Allen,
author of books such as Flute and Violin and The
Blue Grass Region of Kentucky; as well as General
John Hunt Morgan, daring raider of the Confederacy. The beauty
of the cemetery is the result of the conscientious planning by
the cemetery's superintendents and on-staff horticulturist. Early
maps of the cemetery indicate that the basic design of the cemetery
is similar today to its 19th-century appearance.
The Lexington Cemetery is located at 833 West Main St. The
cemetery is open to the public from 8:00am to 5:00pm year round
with self-guided tours. For more information call the cemetery
office at 859-255-5522 or visit its website.