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The Ultimate Guide to Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville Kentucky.

Updated: Nov 2, 2023


It's the spooky time of year, so why not take a road trip to one of my favorite cemeteries. Cave Hill in Louisville Kentucky. Strap on your adventure hats, folks! We're about to embark on a tour of the historic Cave Hill Cemetery. This isn't just your average, run-of-the-mill cemetery – it's the everlasting home of some of the most famous figures in history! We will also touch on spookiness, of course, it's October and the spooky season is upon us.

This is the perfect little day trip for people in Louisville or planning a trip to Louisville.

Some Famous Burials

First up, we've got Colonel Harland Sanders, the fried chicken maestro himself. Yes, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken - KFC - has his final resting place right in the heart of the Cave Hill Cemetery. Can you hear the sizzle? That's the sound of a legacy that's still frying up a storm! This is my favorite grave in the cemetery. As you can tell by the picture, tons of people had thoughts like I did with a chicken leg. Look at the grease at the bottom of the statue. Of course, I just took a picture of the leg in front of the statue. lol

Colonel Sanders statue
Colonel Sanders statue

Next up, we've got Muhammad Ali, the world-renowned boxing legend who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. His spirit continues to dance in the ring of eternity, inspiring us with his unwavering strength and tenacity.

Enid Yandell a famous sculptor born in Louisville KY and trained in Paris among some of the best. She designed sculptures for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. She also designed the Daniel Boone statue that was exhibited at the fair and is now located in Cherokee Park in Louisville Kentucky.

Barney Bright as he was most known by, but his name is Jeptha Barnard Bright IV. He is also a sculptor and is most famous for the Louisville Clock. He also created a statue of Julius Irving (basketball legend) for the city of Philadelphia.

Muhammed Ali maker
Muhammed Ali maker

Susan Look Avery, associated with the women's suffrage movement. She was also a writer, believed in temperance, and was against the Spanish-American War and spoke out about it. In 1890 she attended the first meeting of the Louisville Women's Club and was a host for the first American Women Suffrage Association Meeting in the south. She along with many other helped to give women a voice in the 1900's

Senator Georgia Powers, who was the first person of color elected to the senate in 1967 and served as a Kentucky Senator for 21 years. She was an advocate of children, women, disabled and the black community.

Patty Smith

Mildred and Patty Hill, the creators of the "Happy Birthday" song. Mildred wrote the tune and Patty wrote the lyrics. Their grave markers are not right beside each other but close,

Graves of Mildred and Patty Hill
Graves of Mildred and Patty Hill

(Mildred's is back one row and to the left) from Patty's. Isn't that just neat,

the most popular song in the world, covered into 18 different languages. Bet these ladies never realized how many people would know their song, that they wrote in the late 1800's.

Last but certainly not least, we pay our respects to George Rogers Clark, the highest-ranking American military officer on the northwestern frontier during the American Revolutionary War. His courage and leadership resonate throughout the ages, reminding us of the bold spirit that shaped our nation.

There are so many more like Mia Zapata of the punk band The Gits, and Paul Hornung a pro football player and Heisman trophy winner. 200 Confederate graves, including the general Alpheus Baker, and 1 British soldier who died in 1918.

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Unique tombstones or statues

Cave Hill Cemetry
Cave Hill Cemetry

Cave Hill Cemetery isn't just a bed of stories; it's a gallery of unique statues and memorials that elevate it beyond your ordinary graveyard. Like a sculptor's playground, the cemetery is adorned with exceptional works of art that pay homage to the lives buried beneath.

The Cave Hill Cemetery has more oddities and quirks than you can shake a divining rod at. There are gravestones shaped like tree trunks, a nod to the Victorian-era trend of 'Rustic Movement.' These outlandish markers were thought to symbolize the tree of life.

Did you know about the famous "Veiled Lady?" This intricately carved statue appears draped in a real veil, the folds falling so naturally that it's easy to forget it's made of solid stone! The illusion is a testament to the sculptor's skill and a surreal sight for anyone strolling by.

Then there's the grave of the seafood king, "Captain" John Roth. His stone is a ship's wheel, a fitting tribute to a man who filled Louisville's plates with fish and seafaring tales.

List of a few more must sees.

Peaslee Sphinx
Peaslee Sphinx

-Hands out Grave, tombstone with a statue of a hand on top

-The Peaslee Sphinx- One of the oldest monuments in the cemetery and looks similar to the sphinx in Egypt

-Jesus is my swing set-officially named Sami Swings was designed by Tom White. It is meant to show how fun the afterlife is.

Jack the Loyal Dog
Jack the Loyal Dog

-Jack the Loyal Dog-Jack Bohanon's grave who was a horse breeder, but this statue of his dog was placed at the grave. It just breaks my heart (I am such an animal lover) what a beautiful statue.

-Flower Girl Sandra Curry Twist grave site, was commissioned by the family and Barney Bright (listed earlier in my blog) sculpted it. It is a beautiful statue of a woman in a fitted gown.

Angel Warriors
Angel Warriors

-Angel Warriors 2 statues (Richard and Lorri) life like statues with wings. Richard is the only sibling who has died, Lorri is still alive. The wings almost remind me of a costume.

-Basketball Man- Local Basketball hero Derek Smith and known for creating the "high 5" hand slap and was also a professional basketball player. This life- like tombstone is engraved to look like him.

Jesus is my swing set
Jesus is my swing set

-Hands of Funeral Family-Woodford Potters grave, a well-known funeral homeowner. The hands appear to be coming out of the tombstone.

-Boy and girl holding each other statue- they both died in a car wreck

-Statues of children running.

And so many more odd and quirky statues.....

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Stories and more

For those who prefer a more interactive experience, there are self-guided tours also. You can stroll at your own pace, picnic under a shady tree, or simply pause and reflect on the narratives that unfold around you.

Other Statues
Other Statues

Try a themed tour like "Bourbon Distiller's tour" or my favorite the "Historic Twilight Wagon tour" with so many more to choose from. Each offering a unique perspective on the cemetery's residents. Or perhaps you fancy art or a specific type of history? Then the "Literary Figures" or "Heroes of the River" might be something you would be interested in. So, grab your comfy shoes, pack your curiosity, and set off on an unforgettable journey through history, and learn of the remarkable tales that lie within Cave Hill Cemetery. Most tours are golf cart tours, but if you are interested in booking a special tour for a school trip, or civic trip, just give them a call 502.813.7761.

Just when you thought you'd heard all there is to know about Cave Hill Cemetery, the sun begins to set, casting long, eerie shadows that seem to bring the gravestones to life. And that, my friend, is when the truly chilling tales begin.

Flower Girl
Flower Girl

With this being a cemetery that has been around since 1848, if you believe in the paranormal then this might be worth a visit. People have reports hearing disembodied voices, and green glowing orbs floating around the gravestones. There has also been reports of a lady to appear and it looks as if she is tending to the graves of children. The cemetery is an active cemetery and does not permit paranormal investigations, people wearing costumes, or people coming at night. But if you are a believer, you should definitely check it out. There have been reports of seeing a ghostly carriage riding through the cemetery, eerie noises that sound like a floor creaking, and ghostly soldiers have been spotted.

So, are you brave enough to explore Cave Hill Cemetery at dusk? Who knows, you might just encounter a ghostly resident or two, ready to share their own terrifying tale!

Cave Hill Statue
Cave Hill Statue

This isn't just a cemetery, folks! It's a living, breathing timeline of our shared history. Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville Kentucky isn't just about bidding farewell to our heroes; it's about celebrating the life they lived and the change they affected. It's a place where the past meets the present, where every visit is a history lesson, and every exit is an inspired step into the future. So, let's cherish this hallowed ground, for it's here that we truly connect with the giants whose shoulders we stand on! Take a road trip to check out this wonderful cemetery, you will not be disappointed.

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