It’s not the first place that comes to mind when speaking of one of the city’s (and nation’s) most beautifully preserved landmarks, but the accolades and compliments definitely match. The Nashville based Historic Greenwood Cemetery Preston Taylor Mausoleum/Columbarium is comprised of three separate locations: Historic Greenwood, Greenwood West and Greenwood North. Owned and operated by the National Christian Missionary Convention of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the centrally located venue was established in 1888. February is Black History Month but for Greenwood this is a 365-day a year calendar.
In 1887, Preston Taylor purchased 37 acres of land near ‘Buttermilk Ridge’ at Elm Hill Road and Spence Lane on which he established the Greenwood Cemetery in 1888. Preston, along with three other gentlemen, had planned to purchase this land for $30,000. But Preston was the only one who followed through on the transaction. His purpose was to mainly provide first class burial space that would be available at minimal cost for the African American population of Nashville, in particular, and for the surrounding communities.
In his Will he deeded the cemetery to the National Christian Missionary Convention of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). It remains, yet today, a non-profit establishment. The year 1888 seemed to have been a splendid one for Preston. He also embarked upon the ‘mortician’ business and met with unbound success. He founded Taylor Funeral Company at 449 Cherry St., which is now 4th Avenue.
The cemeteries are well manicured and each family that connects with Greenwood is handled with seamless professionalism and heartfelt Christian love. No detail goes unnoticed and whether the loved one or their family has chosen a traditional burial, a mausoleum entombment or the Cremation Gardens, the Greenwoods staff is always up to the task.
There is no meter on earth to gauge how emotionally draining the death of a loved one, friend or associate can be for those left behind. At Greenwood, there are specific rules and regulations to follow. To better accommodate the aesthetics, cleanliness and upkeep of the facilities, a package is given to all Greenwood clients coming with a detailed list of what is or is not allowed on the gravesites and grounds.
Approved items for decorating and tributes are offered to each family at the time of their deceased’s final resting-place planning. Vases, floral tributes and approved vases may be purchased through Greenwood. Items not allowed include: solar lights, fences (wire or wooden), Mylar (or any other type) of balloons, stuffed animals, plastic flowers, statues, picture frames, or temporary vases. The aforementioned items make it difficult for the horticultural staff to properly maintain the beauty of the gravesites.
The same goes for any visitations outside of regular business hours. The public is warned against trespassing and violating the governing laws. All unapproved items placed on the gravesites and grounds will be removed by the staff. Unfortunately, Greenwood Cemetery is not responsible for theft, but they do all possible to keep up to date surveillance and security on point to prevent any unexpected malfeasance.
The treasured iconic Greenwood is the final resting place for many Black dignitaries, historians and trailblazers—not to mention the flourishing vegetation, such as their landmark Magnolia and other trees. Recently the Nashville Tree Foundation picked Greenwood out of many possible places to be honored for having some of the most well kept, best trees in the city and state.
On April 28, the organization will host a private ceremony on the grounds of Greenwood to honor and recognize the pristine grounds and hearty history of the trees with ‘Planting and Preserving Nashville’s Urban Forest Since 1986.’
‘Everyday People Helping People Every Day’ is a tagline that the administration of Greenwood Cemetery Preston Taylor Mausoleum/Columbarium maintains to this day.
For additional information about any Greenwood property, their services, rules and regulations or the tree foundation, see their websites at or .