Storm damage closes historic cemetery on Memorial Day

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - On a day dedicated to honoring fallen veterans, one Memphis cemetery was closed.

Damage from Saturday's storm forced Elmwood Cemetery to close to the public for Memorial Day.

Huge trees toppled several headstones and monuments and large branches blocked the entrance.

"The tree is not even on our property. The one that broke--it came from another property close by, was picked up by the wind, and was thrown onto our bridge," Elmwood Cemetery Director Kim Bearden said.

Since 1852, about 75,000 people have been buried in the cemetery.

"Boss Crump, Benjamin Hooks, Maxine Smith, and many others--Lois DeBerry. We call Elmwood an outdoor museum for that reason," Bearden said.

Bearden said the cemetery regularly trims trees and takes other landscape maintenance steps to prevent damage from happening. However, since the tree that damaged the cemetery in the weekend storm was not on the cemetery's property, there was nothing the cemetery could do.

Bearden said the cemetery is back open on a regular schedule. She encouraged families to express any concerns they have about the cemetery's actions or plans.

"You are more than welcome to come out and visit or just call us and ask us about the damage, and we'll be glad to give you a report person to person," Bearden said.

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