Thursday March 9, 2006

City Cemetery

Established in 1887, one year after Miami was incorporated, City Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in the city. It’s located a few blocks north of downtown, on NE 2nd ave. A visit here is a stroll through history: the buried here include veterans from as far back as the Civil War, and many prominent names from South Florida History, including Burdine, Peacock, and Tuttle. Many of the tombstones are beautiful and very, very old.

Pvt. Solomon J. Peters CO D 50 GA Inf. CSA 1842-1902

Sydney Martha, Wife of Solomon J. Peters, Died Oct. 1, 1921, aged 70 years.

In memory of Rev. Carmine S. Bird. Born Aug. 19, 1846, Died Sep. 18[?], 1892

A tree is known by the fruit it bears. Willie “Big Nick” Nicholson. June 17, 1926, December 13, 1990. Forever in our hearts.

Judge Lawson E. Thomas. Jan. 28, 1898 – Sept. 14, 1989. First black judge in the South since Reconstruction. Presided 1950 – 1955, 1959 – 1964. Practiced 1923 – 1989.

The Burdine crypt.

It is one of the few cemeteries where the owners of the plot actually hold a deed to the land where the plot is situated . . . Approximately 1,000 open plots still remain within the City Cemetery but to be buried the criteria is strict. One must be able to produce proof of ownership for a plot and must be either the deed holder or able to prove familial relationship to the owner. Friends of the family are not allowed . . . Currently between 10 and 20 burials occur every year at the City Cemetery.

Wow. And you thought only places further up north had history.

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  1. Otto Moe Beal    Thu Mar 9, 09:12 AM #  

    It’s quite exclusive. People are dying to get in there.

  2. MM    Thu Mar 9, 10:17 AM #  

    Hhhmm… wonder how long before this historical gem is snapped up by developers and converted into a luxury condo? Well, for the living anyway…

  3. Manola B    Thu Mar 9, 12:20 PM #  

    Thanks! I didn’t know about this place. I thought only Key West had a historical cemetery.

  4. who knows who    Thu Mar 9, 04:25 PM #  

    otto moe beal: that was real funny…you know “dying to get in there.”
    thanx, it made me chukle…chuckle.

  5. mek    Thu Mar 9, 08:08 PM #  

    yes, i’ve been here too. my grandmother’s brother is buried there. alesh, looks like our paths have crossed several times.

  6. mkh    Thu Mar 9, 11:49 PM #  

    I love that cemetery, too, and I pass it every day on my way to work. Mind if I plug some of my own photos of the place? They start here.

  7. Rick    Fri Mar 10, 09:24 AM #  

    Looking at these photos you gotta wonder about the stories these people could tell about life in South Florida way back when.


  8. Hugh Bris    Fri Mar 10, 10:25 AM #  

    Many people buried in that graveyard commute to work every day, usually via the Palmetto in rush hour.

  9. onajide    Fri Mar 10, 12:23 PM #  

    That cemetery has also had a rather problematic recent history with the homeless and a murder in there, I think. If you don’t know, or have never seen any of the research I’ve worked on regarding African American cemeteries, check out this link.

  10. onajide    Fri Mar 10, 12:26 PM #  

    Oops. I forgot to note that the Miami cemetery was used extensively for various offerings by the various African derived religious and spiritual practicioners. I don’t think it’s used much anymore.