Photographers drive right past this beautiful site. The old Magnolia Cemetery is at the end of this small road. The Charleston Cemeteries Historic District encompasses a cluster of 23 cemeteries north of downtown Charleston, South Carolina.
Owned and maintained by St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, the land was purchased by the church in 1856 when its first cemetery on Reid Street – called Hampstedt Cemetery – reached capacity during a yellow fever outbreak.
Early grave sites are primarily of German Lutherans, members of the original St. Matthews congregation.
The chapel here has one of the last ‘Receiving Tombs’ along with Magnolia that still exist. The deceased were placed here until the burial site was ready. They were common up north where the ground might be frozen.
The grounds here have a different feel from the older Magnolia Cemetery. Sites are newer and the grounds are more laid out like a traditional cemetery.
When Magnolia was first opened a cemetery was a new idea. Burials had always been in a church grave yard. The first ‘destination’ type cemetery was the St. Louis # 1 in New Orleans LA., next was St. Bonaventure down the road in Savannah GA, Magnolia here was a few years later. These three cemeteries are the most famous, and filmed, in the US.
Bethany is known for its fine Victorian-era funerary headstones and monuments.