Lexington Cemetery

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Lexington Cemetery and Henry Clay Monument
One of the ponds at Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery is located in Kentucky
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery is located in the United States
Lexington Cemetery
LocationLexington, Kentucky
Area170 acres (69 ha)
ArchitectAdams, Julius W.; et al.
Architectural styleGothic, Romanesque
NRHP reference No.76000873 [1]
Added to NRHPJuly 12, 1976

Lexington Cemetery is a private, non-profit 170-acre (69 ha) rural cemetery and arboretum located at 833 W. Main Street, Lexington, Kentucky.

The Lexington Cemetery was established in 1848 as a place of beauty and a public cemetery, in part to deal with burials from the cholera epidemic in the area. What became Lexington National Cemetery was established in 1861 to inter American Civil War casualties. It was designed by Charles S. Bell and John Lutz. It was originally 40 acres but has expanded to 170 acres[2] with more than 64,000 interments.

Its plantings include boxwood, cherries, crabapples, dogwoods, magnolias, taxus, as well as flowers such as begonias, chrysanthemums, irises, jonquils, lantanas, lilies, and tulips. Also on the grounds is an American basswood (Tilia Americana), which the cemetery claims to be the largest in the world. However, this claim is not supported by the National Register of Big Trees, which claims that the largest American Basswood is located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.


Two Confederate monuments were originally built in the cemetery, Confederate Soldier Monument in LexingtonLadies' Confederate Memorial (1874) and Confederate Soldier Monument in Lexington (1893). In 2018, two additional Confederate monuments were relocated here from downtown Lexington: John C. Breckinridge Memorial and John Hunt Morgan Memorial. All four monuments are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Some notable people[edit]

The Lexington Cemetery maintains a list of notable interments,[3] others are listed here:




  • Henry Clay (1777–1852) - antebellum Speaker of the House, three-time U.S. Presidential candidate, architect of the Missouri Compromise
  • James Brown Clay (1817–1864) - U.S. Congressman
  • Laura Clay (1849–1941) - Suffragist
  • Mary Barr Clay (1839–1924) - Women's Suffrage movement leader
  • John Winston Coleman Jr. (1898–1983) - historian, author
  • Leslie Combs (1793–1881) - War of 1812 veteran, general
  • Robert Wickliffe Cooper (1831–1867) - Union Army officer - Civil War. Post-war service as 2nd Major of the 7th Cavalry (Gen. Geo. A. Custer). Died ignominiously before Little Big Horn.
  • Jesse Orin Creech (1895–1948) - World War I Fighter Ace
  • Rev Spencer Cooper, Trustee of Translyvania University 1829. Tended the sick in the cholera epidemic of 1833, became ill and never fully recovered. Minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Lexington. Owner of a Powder House (made gunpowder).



  • Andrew Eugene Erwin (1830–1863) - Civil War Confederate Army officer









  • Howard W. Oots (1876-1955), Thoroughbred racehorse trainer, owner, breeder




  • George S. Shanklin (1807–1883) - U.S. Congressman
  • Jouett Shouse (1879–1968) - U.S. Congressman
  • Cincinnatus Shryock (1816-1888) - architect
  • William "King" Solomon, (1775–1854) - Town Drunk, Town hero - The Cholera Epidemic of 1833 killed 500 townspeople in 2 months ... King Solomon stayed in Lexington to dig graves, earning the lasting respect of the town.[7]
  • May Stone (1867-1946) - Cofounder of Hindman Settlement School with Katherine Pettit
  • King Swope (1893–1961) - U.S. Congressman



  • Thomas R. Underwood (1898–1956) - U.S. Congressman, Senator
  • Solomon Van Meter, Sr. (1818–1859) Farmer and importer of shorthorn cattle, Duncastle Farm
  • Solomon Lee Van Meter (1859–1928) Member of Kentucky State Legislature elected 1899, Farmer. Son of Solomon Van Meter. Owner of Shenandoah Hall on the Bryan Station Pike.[8]
  • Solomon Lee Van Meter, Jr. (1888–1937) inventor of the Ripcord Backpack Parachute son of Solomon Lee Van Meter.
  • 2nd Lt Solomon Lee Van Meter, III (1925–1953) Pilot died in Korean War, son of S.L. Van Meter, Jr.
  • James Albert Varney, Sr. (1910–1985) - Jim Varney's father
  • Jim Varney (1949–2000) - actor who was best known as Ernest P. Worrell
  • Louise H. Varney (1913–1994) - Jim Varney's mother


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ Linden, Blanche M.G. (2007). Silent City on a Hill: Picturesque Landscapes of Memory and Boston's Mount Auburn Cemetery. Cambridge, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press. p. 294. ISBN 978-1-55849-571-5. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Lexington Cemetery & Cremation | Notable People". Lexcem.org. Archived from the original on April 22, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  4. ^ Pendleton, Phil; Aaron, Cameron (November 30, 2022). "Memorial service held for former Ky. Gov. John Y. Brown Jr". WYMT. Retrieved December 1, 2022.
  5. ^ Quinn, Justin (November 22, 2022). "Former Boston Celtics owner John Y. Brown passes at age 88". celticwire.usatoday.com. Retrieved December 1, 2022.
  6. ^ "Lexington Cemetery & Cremation | Notable People". Lexcem.org. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  7. ^ "Lexington Cemetery & Cremation | Notable People". Lexcem.org. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  8. ^ Meter, Benjamin Franklin Van (1901). Genealogies and Sketches of Some Old Families who Have Taken Prominent Part ... - Benjamin Franklin Van Meter - Google Books. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  9. ^ "Secretaries of State". Apps.sos.ky.gov. Retrieved October 18, 2012.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°03′40″N 84°30′32″W / 38.061°N 84.509°W / 38.061; -84.509