Elmwood Cemetery
Photo added by Ray Bobo

Elmwood Cemetery

Also known as Elm Leaf Cemetery

Birmingham, Jefferson County , Alabama, USA


  • Get directions 600 Martin Luther King Jr Drive
    Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama, 35211 USA
  • Phone: 205-251-3114
  • Cemetery ID: 22674

Elmwood Cemetery was established before 1900 by a group of fraternal organizations. Reputedly, a number of wealthy Birmingham residents did not like that Oak Hill cemetery was not segregated, and they decided to create a new cemetery that would be whites only. Originally it was named Elm Leaf Cemetery, for the shape that the first few blocks take on a map. More and more space was purchased as the cemetery grew, and it was taken over by a real estate company and renamed to Elmwood Cemetery in 1906. It became the unofficial city cemetery about 1910, and it became the more popular place for Birmingham residents to be buried.

The first recorded burial was of a little girl named Annie Cleveland in late October of 1900. No records have been found as to who her parents were, or how she died. Her grave is on the corner of what is now called Block 11, but which was apparently where early burials at Elmwood happened prior to the leaf shaped blocks being established. No map exists of the burials in this block, but there are many records of burials with now-meaningless lot and section numbers in block 11. Many of the burials in this block are unmarked, or are marked by stones that are badly worn, broken, or very small and simple. As it is impossible to determine where most burials are in this area, no modern burials take place there.

In 1900 Elmwood consisted of 40 acres of burial grounds. The cemetery added 40 more acres in 1904, 80 more acres in 1909, 80 more acres in 1910, 43 acres in 1924, and reached 286 acres with the addition of blocks 22-30 by 1928. The blocks were originally split by carriage paths, which were later paved, or in some cases, allowed to return to a natural grassy condition.

In the 1930s Mexican sculptor Dionicio Rodríguez contributed several cast-in-place concrete sculptural elements, including a mushroom-shaped "Natural Beach Umbrella", "A Rustic Bench" in the form of a fallen tree trunk, a Chinese-style lantern, and a walking bridge.

Elmwood was integrated in 1970 after Vietnam War soldier Bill Terry Jr's family won a federal lawsuit barring the owners from discriminating based on race.

Elmwood now covers 412 acres, many of which have not yet begun to be used.

This cemetery will disclose plot information over the phone to non-relatives, but not more than two at a time, assuming someone is available to do the research. For a $20 charge, you can, at the discretion and availability of the staff, get up to ten lot locations.

Most developed Blocks of this cemetery contain 300-500 lots, and there are more than 50 such Blocks. Most Blocks are not rectangular, lot numbers are not consistently and predictably arranged, and there are limited or no lot markings on the ground for the searcher to refer to.

If you request a photo for a grave in this cemetery, you should call Elmwood's office ((205)251-3114) to find out the Block AND the Lot numbers. Either number alone is meaningless. If the memorial is in block 9, 12, or 15, be sure to ask for the section also, as these blocks are subdivided into sections and the same lot numbers are used in every section. The cemetery office is open on weekdays until 4:30 p.m. CST and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.



  • Added: 1 Jan 2000
  • Find a Grave Cemetery ID: 22674