The classic gateway to The Lexington Cemetery opens into a significant community of the town’s and state’s past. Symbolically it was near this spot in 1775 that a small band of land hunters who had ventured out from Fort Harrod to spy out the countryside came to rest and were said to have given the place the name Lexington. That small band of backwoodsmen on a June day could not possibly have realized that the place where they camped would three quarters of a century later become one of perpetually extending historical importance. Alongside the bronze marker which commemorates the first viewing of the site of future Lexington stands the classic gateway to the town’s major cemetery, and in truth its garden of history.
Thomas D. Clark
Excerpt from “A History of The Lexington Cemetery” by Burton Milward with introduction by Thomas D. Clark.
Before The Lexington Cemetery
In 1848, Lexingtonians did not have a suitable sacred place to bury their dead. At a time when Lexington was experiencing rapid growth, the dead were either buried in family burial grounds, crowded church graveyards, or “First Hill,” the burial ground of the pioneer settlement of Lexington. These traditional graveyards did not have enough capacity to support future burials, and some of the church cemeteries allowed only members to be buried in their grounds. People were concerned that these types of graveyards were a menace to public health, contaminating wells and springs. One of the disadvantages of private cemeteries was that deceased members of families buried in family burial ground were left behind if families eventually decided to sell their land.
At the request of a group of Lexington’s most prominent citizens, Kentucky General Assembly approved an act on February 5, 1848 that incorporated the Lexington Cemetery Company and authorized it to establish a rural, or garden, cemetery. The act required the cemetery to provide perpetual care of its grounds and graves. Almost a year passed before any effective action was taken to implement the charter. On January 23, 1849, four men, M.T. Scott, Benjamin Gratz, Madison C. Johnson, and Richard Higgins, decided to raise by subscription the sum of $12,000 to buy land and get the cemetery started. In only a few days, twenty-four men each pledged $500. On February 12, 1849, the General Assembly amended the charter to name most of these subscribers.
The founders included:
- M. T. Scott, officer and later president of the Northern Kentucky Bank (treasurer)
- Madison C. Johnson, officer and later president of the Northern Kentucky Bank
- Benjamin Gratz, hemp manufacturer, attorney and director of the bank
- Richard Higgins, prosperous merchant and owner of Castleton Farm (secretary)
- Stephen Swift, wholesale and retail grocer
- Joel Higgins, planter
- David A. Sayre, banker and founder in 1854 of Sayre Female Institute
- John Tilford, president of Northern Bank
- A.T. Skillman, bookseller (president)
- Emilius K. Sayre, attorney
- Robert Wickliffe, attorney known as “The Old Duke”
- Thomas Hemingway, partner in the Oldham, Todd & Co. woolen mill at Sandersville
- John B. Tilford, grocer and banker
- John Lutz, civil engineer and acting president of Transylvania University
- D.M. Craig, dry-goods merchant
- A.F. Hawkins, employee at the Northern Bank
- Benjamin Warfield, attorney
- Rev. Robert J. Breckinridge, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church and state superintendent of public instruction
- Dr. Elisha Warfield, merchant and horseman (brother of Benjamin Warfield)
- John Brand, retired hemp manufacturer and director of the Northern Bank
- George W. Sutton, hemp manufacturer
- Henry T. Duncan, attorney and horseman
- Edward Macalester, merchant (son-in-law of John Brand)
The board purchased a forty-acre tract of land owned by Thomas E. Boswell (known as Boswell’s Woods) which was located on Leestown Pike at what was then the edge of the city. They paid $7,000 for the heavily forested land that had been used as hunting grounds. When it was purchased, Boswell’s Woods contained a small family graveyard. These graves are preserved as part of Section A.
Laying out the grounds
Prior to the chartering of the cemetery, a prominent British landscape architect, John C. Louden, published a small book, On the Laying Out, Planting and Managing of Cemeteries. The first general manager of The Lexington Cemetery, Charles S. Bell, was familiar with the information contained in Louden’s book.
Bell came to the United States from Scotland in the summer of 1842, and was hired on April 1, 1849. His dream was to create a park-like, landscaped cemetery. Inspired by his training in Scotland as a horticulturist, Bell brought to Lexington a new “rural” concept that originated in Europe and practiced in Boston, Massachusetts.
By May 1849, Bell and one of the cemetery founders, John Lutz began to lay out the grounds including the roads, sections and lots. It was the responsibility of Bell to complete the landscaping and horticultural work. Bell’s keen interest in horticulture was apparent by his initiative to erect the cemetery greenhouse in 1854.
It is said that Bell was a methodical man and a perfectionist. Consequently, Bell and the trustees maintained their position not to open the cemetery until the grounds were sufficiently prepared.
By mid-July, after Bell and the trustees felt that they had made adequate progress, an advertisement was placed in the Lexington Observer & Reporter on July 13, 1849 informing the community that there were lots for sale in of The Lexington Cemetery.
The First burials
The cemetery corporation sold its first lot on August 18, 1849 to A. B. Colwell, a community businessman who bought the lot for Robert S. Boyd, a merchant tailor and Colwell’s partner. After his death in June from cholera, Boyd had been laid to rest in the Episcopal Cemetery until his reinterment into The Lexington Cemetery was arranged. He was interred in the newly opened Section A with his infant son, whose date of death is unknown. The Lexington Cemetery erected a monument to commemorate the first burial in the garden cemetery, which took place on October 2, 1849.
Eighty-six burials had been conducted by the end of 1850, including reinterment of remains from several other community graveyards. The sections then opened were those presently designated as A, B, C, D, F, H, and K.
Gateway to “The City of the Dead”
On May 9, 1849, A. T. Skillman solicited bids for the erection of the Gateway and Buildings connected. The plan and specifications had already been drawn by John McMurtry. By October, 1850, McMurtry completed his part of the construction of the gateway at a cost of $2,735.23. The next month, H. Moore received $14 for “cutting stone sills for the gateway,” and in December W. H. Newberry, a blacksmith, was paid $254.15 for making the three iron gates.
The structure was more than a mere gateway. The central entrance was flanked by narrow pedestrian gates, and on either side of these were reception and office rooms. Above the east gate was inscribed “Lexington Cemetery, Founded A.D. 1849.” Over the west gate were the words “The City of the Dead.”
The death of Henry Clay
At 74 years of age and in failing health, The Honorable Henry Clay wanted to return to Washington, D.C. to use his influence as “The Great Pacificator,” in an effort to stop the trend toward civil war. While in the capital city, his health deteriorated and he died on June 29, 1852.
Prior to his death, Clay received a letter from John Lutz, who offered him a 44 x 44 foot block in Section I. Lutz received these four lots for his work in laying out the grounds of The Lexington Cemetery. Clay graciously accepted the space in letter from his Ashland home on May 26, 1851. In the letter Clay commented, “…by your generous gift, you have provided a beautiful spot for the repose of my mortal remains.”
Ten days elapsed from the date of Clay’s death and the day he was buried. Many admirers and even former political foes wished to pay tribute to the Great Pacificator. Several services were conducted during those ten days of mourning. The first memorial service occurred in the Senate chamber in Washington. He was then taken by steam boat and train to Baltimore, Philadelphia, Trenton, New York, Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville and Frankfort. Finally on July 9, 1852, Clay reached Lexington by train.
Clay’s procession began at his Ashland home where his casket was placed on a bier in front of his residence. A service was conducted there, and then began the slow solemn procession of national, state and local dignitaries, military units and family west on Main Street to the cemetery. Buildings along the route were draped and an estimated 30,000 people from Lexington and afar were assembled for the rites. The cemetery found it necessary to take down part of the fence along Leestown Pike as a result of the mass of people. Upon arrival at The Lexington Cemetery, Clay was placed in a receiving vault until a few days later when he was interred in the lot provided by John Lutz.
Newspapers and pictorial journals throughout the country reported the funeral that attracted national, regional and local dignitaries.
On June 30, 1852, just one day after the death of Henry Clay, a group of his friends met at the Fayette County courthouse to adopt a resolution to build a “NATIONAL MONUMENT OF COLOSSAL PROPORTIONS” in The Lexington Cemetery, to “commemorate the virtuous deeds of his long and glorious life.” A committee was organized to raise money for the creation of the memorial.
By 1857, the committee raised enough money to advertise for designs for the monument. More than 100 plans were submitted. The successful bidder was John Haly of Frankfort who agreed to build the Clay monument, furnish all materials and hoisting apparatus at a cost of $43,920.
The cornerstone was laid on the Fourth of July, 1857 with a public ceremony, followed by programs at the Agricultural & Mechanical Association grounds (now the University of Kentucky campus). The monument was completed in 1861, but because of the onset of the Civil War, Clay’s body was not placed into the monument until April 8, 1864 at which time, the bodies of both Henry Clay and his wife were placed in the vault side-by-side upon her death.
The monument stands on an small hill, the only structure in Section M of the cemetery, with the statue facing eastward toward Clay’s home, Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate.
Nature took its toll on the Henry Clay Monument during the early decades of the twentieth century. In 1903, a terrific storm knocked the head off the statue and sent it hurtling 130 feet to the ground. In 1908, the General Assembly appropriated $10,000 for a new statue. It was carved by Charles S. Mulligan of Chicago. Another storm damaged the new structure in 1910, when lightning struck it, breaking off the right hand, shattering the right leg, and causing some damage to the body. The legislature paid $10,000 for repairs once again.
For the next half of the century thereafter, the monument deteriorated from weather and other corrosive elements. Since the Clay Monument Association no longer existed and The Lexington Cemetery Company had deeded the land to the association, no one had an obligation to care for the monument. Finally in the early 1970s, after numerous outcries from civic leaders, the Fayette Circuit Court vested ownership of the “orphan” monument to the city. Through the government’s initiative, the Henry Clay Monument was completely renovated in 1976.
The Lexington Cemetery rededicated the monument on July 29, 1976, and tribute was paid to those who had worked so long and hard to restore it. Today, visitors from throughout the United States admire the beautiful and magnificent structure that memorializes one of the most notable citizens of Lexington and the United States.
In 1999, Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government transferred ownership of the Henry Clay Monument to The Lexington Cemetery.
Civil War Period
Although the Civil War brought division among families, the Lexington Cemetery Company maintained a position of political neutrality. Sympathizers of each side owned lots in the cemetery, and Lexington soldiers died for both the Confederacy and the Union. Separate “soldiers’ grounds” were set aside for the burial of Union and Confederate troops.
The first soldier to be buried in The Lexington Cemetery was Captain Cary G. Gratz, U.S.A. of St. Louis who was buried on September 11, 1861 in the lot of his father, Benjamin Gratz.
A note posted in the front of the interments book states that between October 4, 1861, and July 26, 1865, buried in The Lexington Cemetery were 828 “U.S. Vols white,” 40 U.S. Vols col,” and 97 “Disloyal,” and a total of 965 Union dead. In the Confederate and private lots there were 102 Southern burials during the war, and 88 of these men died in hospitals in Lexington.
After the war, the cemetery company donated the Union lot to the United States government, which purchased an adjoining 16,111 square feet on July 1, 1867. The entire area was designated as a national cemetery, and the bodies of federal soldiers from several central Kentucky counties were brought here. Servicemen and veterans of later wars were interred in this tract, and by 1932 it was filled. When the government decided not to buy additional land, the trustees set aside an adjacent lot containing 102 grave spaces that could be purchased for the burial of eligible men and women.
The Southern section was turned over to the Confederate Veterans Association on June 6, 1891, for the token payment of one dollar, and the C.V.A. on February 2 of the next year bought an adjoining lot of 510 square feet for fifty dollars. When that space was filled, the association purchased two more lots totaling 853 square feet.
The cemetery trustees made several important purchases throughout its history in order to expand its grounds to its current 170 acres, enabling the cemetery to have room to bury people for at least two centuries.
In 1884, the trustees purchased a few acres on the south side of Leestown Pike. This land was used for greenhouses and to build a residence for the cemetery general manager. This property was later sold.
In 1887, the cemetery company made the largest purchase of land in its history, 106 acres. This tract adjoined the cemetery on the northeast and extended to Georgetown Street, increasing the company’s holdings to approximately 180 acres. The trustees, however, by a deed recorded in November 1890, sold 53 acres of the Lee property to the Forest Hill Land Company. Part of that tract became Greenwood Cemetery for blacks, and the remainder was subdivided into streets and building lots.
Subsequent purchases have brought the total amount of land that makes up The Lexington Cemetery to 170 acres.
Main Office Building
The old entrance to the cemetery was razed in 1890, and a stone chapel and office structure which forms the main part of the present administrative quarters was built by 1891. This not only provided larger office space but a chapel seating 125 which was used primarily for services for persons brought from out of town. A new gateway, with entrance and exit drives and heavy iron gates, was erected, too, and is still in use.
Second General Manager, James Hay Nicol
On March 1, 1891, James Hay Nicol was named assistant general manager to help the aging Bell. Nicol, like his superior, was a native of Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He had come to the United States as a youth, living first in Frankfort, where he had relatives, and then in Lexington, where he entered the lumber business. By 1895, Nichol had taken over much of the direction of the cemetery. Bell’s health was failing, and by 1900 he had lost his sight because of cataracts. Bell was, however, officially retained as general manager until his death on July 29, 1905, when Nichol succeeded him.
Nichol’s appointment as the next general manager was a simple choice. The August 5, 1905 edition of the Lexington Herald stated: “Mr. Nicol possessed all the qualities that Mr. Bell wished for a pupil, and soon learned to carry on the work in a systematic way. For the last ten years he has done practically all the superintending of the work in the cemetery as Mr. Bell planned it, so that he will have no difficulty in carrying out the landscape plans of Mr. Bell.”
Nicol remained the general manager of The Lexington Cemetery for nearly 31 years, retiring on December 1, 1936, at the age of 75. The population of Lexingtonand Fayette County had increased during his tenure at the cemetery from approximately 43,000 to 73,000 and the “population” of the cemetery from 10,500 to 28,929.
Third General Manager, Richard F. Allison
Nichol was succeeded on the day of his retirement by 31-year-old Richard F. Allison, horticulturist. A native of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Allison had come to Transylvania University on a ministerial scholarship, but after two years he transferred to the University of Kentucky, where he graduated with a major in ornamental horticulture in 1936.
The first two general managers had developed the cemetery as a carefully landscaped, park-like “city of the dead,” and Allison continued in this tradition. To it he added a new dimension, planting avenues of flowering trees and shrubs and creating garden areas.
His beautification of the grounds began in 1937, when he planted dogwood trees along both sides of the main drive, creating a spectacle that each spring draws thousands of visitors to the cemetery.
Besides pink and white dogwoods and trees grafted to bear both colors, Allison set out ornamental cherry, crabapple, magnolia, and other flowering trees and shrubs that provide spectacular color throughout the growing season. garden areas with tulips, jonquils, irises and other plants were placed in appropriate spots around the cemetery, and one plot near the northeastern boundary of the grounds now is a project of the Iris Society of Central Kentucky.
A major undertaking was the establishment in 1963 of a formal garden that takes up an entire section below the lower lake. Here the entire area was laid out in flower beds, a lily pool, walks and a bridge. Shrubs that in some cases were as much as eleven feet across, were moved from other parts of the cemetery where they were no longer needed. Boxwood, taxus, and yew were planted, and thousands of bulbs and annual plants were set out to give a continuous array of blooms from early spring to the chrysanthemums of fall. Baskets hanging from branches of trees contain begonias of several varieties and trailing lantanas.
As the result of Allison’s efforts, by the time of his retirement The Lexington Cemetery enjoyed a national reputation. In addition to his consulting work for Governor Bert T. Combs and Transylvania University, he also served as president of both the Southern and American Cemetery associations. His tenure at the cemetery was marked by an increasing use of motorized, labor-saving equipment, one of the most important of which was a mechanical gravedigger, the first of its kind in Kentucky, which was acquired in November 1951.
Allison continued as superintendent until December 31, 1973, when he and his wife, who was secretary at the cemetery, retired. He was active in community affairs until his unexpected death on December 5, 1984. On April 19, 1986, a memorial statue and bronze plaque were dedicated to the memory of the former superintendent. They are located, fittingly, in the garden area which he had established twenty-three years earlier.
Fourth General Manager, Robert Wachs
Allison was succeeded by Robert Wachs, who had served as his assistant general manager for eighteen years and had worked at the cemetery since 1956.
Wachs continued the policies of his predecessor, both in the horticultural aspects of the cemetery and in taking advantage of technological advances in maintenance and operations and in the office. Allison had introduced the use of the mechanical gravedigger, power mowers, and in similar improvements, and Wachs acquired other and more modern equipment as it became available. This equipment included grass trimmers, leaf blowers and leaf vacuum collectors.
The growth of Lexington’s population continued, requiring the cemetery trustees to open four new ections. Also, to meet the demand for above-ground entombment, the company constructed its first mausoleum, containing 204 crypts. It was named the Bell Mausoleum in honor of the cemetery’s first superintendent, Charles S. Bell. It was dedicated on October 23, 1975. Appropriately the bell which had hung in the office building was relocated to the Bell Mausoleum.
Additionally, cremation was becoming increasingly popular; therefore, on August 26, 1978 The Lexington Cemetery opened the first crematory in Kentucky outside of Jefferson County. It also constructed in the lower level of the office structure a columbarium with 2,102 niches in which urns containing cremated remains could be placed.
A third major improvement under Wachs’ leadership was the erection of the Lexington Mausoleum, which opened January 8, 1983. It contained 660 crypts for caskets, 80 niches, and a chapel where services could be held in inclement weather.
Finally, a new greenhouse complex and storage building were erected to allow the cemetery to carry on the tradition of growing its own trees, shrubs, and flowers for replacement and beautification of the cemetery.
Prior to his retirement on April 1, 1997, Wachs had visited cemeteries in forty-eight states and most of the outstanding floral gardens in North America. He was active in the Southern and International Cemetery & Funeral associations and a member of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.
Fifth General Manager and President, Daniel Scalf
After 27 years as assistant general manager, Daniel Scalf was named general manager of The Lexington Cemetery, April 1997, succeeding Bob Wachs.
Scalf began his career at the cemetery in 1965 as a part-time grounds-man while he was a student at the University of Kentucky. After he earned a bachelor’s degree in education, he taught at Millersburg Military Institute until May 1970. Scalf joined the management team June 1, 1970.
Only the fifth general manager since 1849 of the second largest cemetery in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Scalf has been integral in completing several major building projects, including: the expansion of The Lexington Mausoleum; installation of a third cremation retort; and expansion of the office building.
With the expansion of The Lexington Mausoleum, the structure now contains 1,422 crypts and 344 niches, making it the largest mausoleum and columbarium in Fayette County. A public ceremony was held on July 15, 1998 to dedicate the completion of Phase II of The Lexington Mausoleum.
When the third cremation retort was installed at The Lexington Crematory, a chapel was built on-site to provide comfort to survivors who elect to be there, or whose religious beliefs require them to be present during the cremation process.
The enlargement of the office building provided additional space for record storage and administrative operations. The office building now includes ramps, an elevator and handicap accessible restrooms.
Scalf is a past president of Kentucky Cemetery Association and the Southern Cemetery Association. Additionally, he is active in the International Cemetery and Funeral Association. Beyond his many responsibilities at the cemetery and for cemetery associations, Scalf has been an educational speaker at various conventions.
Sesquicentennial Anniversary Observance 1998-1999
During 1998 and 1999, The Lexington Cemetery observed and commemorated the 150th anniversary of its founding and first interment.
The sesquicentennial celebration began on February 2, 1998 when Senator Ernesto Scorsone introduced a resolution that passed in the State Senate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to recognize The Lexington Cemetery for its 150 years of service to the people of Lexington-Fayette County.
During 1998, the public festivities to inform people about this community memorial ground included a history walk, flora demonstration and a tour of decorative monuments.
The grand finale for the two-year anniversary celebration was a public ceremony on October 2, 1999, exactly 150 years to the date after the first burial took place. The master of ceremonies for the event was John Lingren, news anchor for the ABC affiliate, WTVQ TV-36. Charlotte Thompson, vocalist for First Corinthians Baptist Church, was the featured singer at this historic event. Historian Thomas Clark was the keynote speaker. Daniel Scalf and Ted Broida, chairman of the board of directors for The Lexington Cemetery, made comments on behalf of the cemetery board and management. Mayor Pam Miller, United States Congressman Ernie Fletcher and Kentucky Senator Ernesto Scorsone each presented proclamations to Ted Broida, who accepted them on behalf of the board of directors and management.
The ceremony was followed by a history tour led by Ronald Bryant, Ph.D., curator of rare books for the Kentucky Historical Society, and Sam Flora, State commander for the Kentucky Division Sons of onfederate Veterans. During the tour, walkers enjoyed presentations by professional Chautauqua presenters including George McGee who portrayed Henry Clay and Hassan Davis who played the role of A.A. Burleigh, an African-American Union soldier. Additionally, Cliff and Joan Howard portrayed Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, and members of the 6th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA, 4th Infantry, CSA and 7th Kentucky Infantry portrayed Civil War soldiers memorialized in The Lexington Cemetery.
The 21st Century
The Lexington Cemetery reflects the social and economic changes that have taken place in this city and county. Within its gates lie people of different political, economic and social standing, race and religion, all in equality in the majestic beauty of nature.
Memorials recognize the mothers, fathers, farmers, clergy, merchants, horseman, bankers, lawyers, war heroes and people from all walks of life who rest in peace. Due to the planning and stewardship of the trustees, management and workers there will be space available for the next 100 years for people who will have contributed to the growth and well-being of Lexington-Fayette County, Kentucky.
The Lexington Cemetery is more than a suitable place for burials. Many people consider the historic grounds to be beautiful in their own right. The horticulturists and groundskeepers charged with care of the property take seriously the responsibility of maintaining the natural beauty they inherited and work to enhance its sense of serenity through all seasons. To ensure enjoyment of this artistic-like beauty of nature in this unique city setting, sixty percent of the price of burial sites is invested for perpetual care. It is just one part of the commitment by The Lexington Cemetery to assure the community that its grounds will be as beautiful and affordable in the future as they are today.
Incorporation and Establishment of the Lexington Cemetery
In 1848, Lexingtonians did not have a suitable sacred place to bury their dead. At a time when Lexington was experiencing rapid growth, the dead were either buried in family plots, crowded church graveyards, or on “First Hill,” the burial ground of Lexington pioneers. These traditional graveyards did not have enough capacity to support future burials and some of the graveyards were a menace to public health that caused contamination of wells and springs.
Foreseeing the need for a more practical rural cemetery, some of the most prominent Lexington citizens obtained an act incorporating the Lexington Cemetery Company as a non-profit organization, approved February 5,1848 by the Kentucky General Assembly. This act authorized the corporation to establish a rural or garden cemetery (located away from the built-up area of town) and to provide for the perpetual care of grounds and graves.
The cemetery corporation sold its first lot on August 18, 1849, to A. B. Colwell, a community businessman who bought the lot for Robert S. Boyd, a merchant tailor and Colwell’s partner. Mr. Boyd died from cholera in June 1849. He was buried in the Episcopal Cemetery until his re-interment with his infant son in The Lexington Cemetery on October 2, 1849. Many years later, The Lexington Cemetery erected a monument to commemorate the first burial in the garden cemetery.
160 Years Later
The Lexington Cemetery continues to honor the 1848 commitment of its founders and is a vital resource to the people of this area. It is the community burial grounds, a nationally recognized arboretum and a repository of genealogical records with information about people who previously contributed to the growth and prosperity of Central Kentucky.
With almost 68,000 interments, people from all walks of life are memorialized in The Lexington Cemetery, including U.S. Senator Henry Clay, University of Kentucky Basketball Coach Adolph Rupp, U.S. Vice President John Breckinridge and Dr. Thomas D. Clark. Due to the planning and stewardship of the trustees, management and workers, there will be space available for the people of Central Kentucky to be laid to rest in this garden of community history for the next 100 years.
Changes in the Cemetery
Since 1849, The Lexington Cemetery has offered traditional in-ground burial services, but management has made many changes over the years to adapt to the needs and wants of the community.
In addition to traditional in-ground burial with above ground monuments, The Lexington Cemetery has provided for entombment in mausoleums and on-grounds cremation services with memorialization in niches and a scattering garden for several decades.
Throughout its history, individuals and organizations have been afforded the opportunity to select and develop special sections of the cemetery for lakefront lots, family and religious lots, to erect magnificent monuments and mausoleums, use flush-to-the ground markers, and traditional and artistic upright monuments.
The first mausoleum was erected in 1974, under the direction of Robert Wachs, who was the fourth general manager of The Lexington Cemetery. The mausoleum was named the Bell Mausoleum in honor of Charles S. Bell, the first superintendent of The Lexington Cemetery who had the vision for laying out the grounds. Mr. Bell was assisted in implementing his vision for laying out the grounds by James Nichol, who became the second superintendent upon the death of Mr. Bell.
Also in 1978, The Lexington Crematory was established on the grounds and making it the first cremation retort in Central Kentucky. The growing popularity of cremation has necessitated installation of two additional retorts, a chapel and expansion of memorialization options including columbarium niches, niche benches and boulders (receptacles for cremation urns).
In 1997, under the management of the fifth general manager, Dan Scalf, The Lexington Cemetery dedicated Phase II of The Lexington Mausoleum with both interior and exterior crypts (receptacles for caskets) and columbarium niches.
To commemorate the 160th year of service to the community, ground breaking for Phase III of The Lexington Mausoleum will signify the continuing commitment of The Lexington Cemetery to serve the community by providing for future generations of Lexingtonians.