Oasis of Calm and Beauty
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Hours for visiting very. After walking down the sidewalk to the stone arch sit on the right side and look to your right the silver bullet is in plain view in the side of the arch no need to pick up or move anything, Thanks in advance for being gentle and respectful.
Temple Cemetery in north Nashville is an oasis of calm and beauty in a section of Nashville not prone to either in recent times.
For the city's Jews, it is probably the most visible remaining feature of the area's landscape linked to their early history here. The cemetery inherited this status when Vine Street Temple, an 81-year landmark with its onion-shaped dome at 136 Seventh Ave. N., was razed in 1955 for a parking lot.
The cemetery's significance is not going unnoticed. An announcement is expected soon that it will be added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The federal designation is being made possible by an application co-written last year by Blythe Semmer, a staff member of the Metro Nashville Historical Commission, and Sarah Jackson Martin, a commission intern. Their research tracing its development beginning in 1851 gives a glimpse into Nashville's earliest Jewish community.
The cemetery started with three acres purchased that year for $377 by the newly formed Hebrew Benevolent Burial Association. The seller was James C. Owen, a developer of the new Buena Vista Turnpike that gave its name to a neighborhood close to downtown — most likely the site's main attraction to the association.
Burial associations gave their members a financial boost in providing dignified final spots for their relatives, and in this case satisfied Jewish tradition for interment among other Jews.
Jews began arriving in Nashville by at least the 1840s. Most were of German descent, but others came from Poland, Hungary, Russia and Austria. Some were from smaller settlements of Eastern Europe, coming here in search of prosperity.
''Jewish immigrants typically arrived poor and often worked as peddlers, which sometimes led to the ownership of a retail store,'' Martin and Semmer wrote.
Buying land for a cemetery often marked the establishment of a Jewish community. In this case it was Congregation Khal Kodesh Mogen David, which was deeded the cemetery in 1853. It evolved into Congregation Ohabai Sholom, the largest of Nashville's five current congregations. Members worship at The Temple on Harding Pike.
The congregation still has charge of cemetery operations through a committee now headed by Ralph Z. Levy and Marshall Karr. A resident caretaker helps protect the site.
Expanded in 1881 to more than nine acres, its grounds feature several imposing obelisk monuments as well as six family mausoleums of granite and marble. The graceful statue of a boy marks the grave of a 10-year-old child, Felix Salzkotter, who died in 1872 — possibly during a diphtheria epidemic.
Other children's markers are stone depictions of tree stumps, symbolizing life cut short. The earliest dated stone of any type is from 1854.
Family names include retailers Levy, Loveman, Lebeck, Kuhn, Herman and Zibart. Another familiar name to many is Werthan, whose former bag factory on Eighth Avenue North is now undergoing a conversion into loft apartments.
Among the notable women buried there is Bertha Lindauer Fensterwald, instrumental in forming Nashville's first nursery schools in the early years of the 20th century. Many Civil War veterans were among the cemetery's more than 3,000 burials. While gravestones generally do not reference military service, quite a few have symbols from popular fraternal organizations such as the Masons and Odd Fellows.
The National Register nomination said the cemetery's ''rural'' Victorian-era style predates Nashville's three ''garden'' style cemeteries, Mount Olivet, Mount Calvary and Mount Ararat.
Ararat, formed in 1869, is the city's oldest designated for African-American Nashvillians. Blacks here, both slave and free, were earlier buried in City Cemetery along with whites — if not in smaller family graveyards or in National Cemetery, where more than 1,900 black Civil War soldiers from the Union army are interred.
Temple Cemetery's entrance is at Clay Street and 15th Avenue North. An older and more visible gate at 18th and Clay was closed in 1886, possibly because Clarksville Pike there was becoming so busy it wasn't safe.
People who entered Nashville from the northwest, before interstate highways or construction of a route alongside MetroCenter, once saw Temple Cemetery as the familiar landmark designating their arrival into the city.
George Zepp writes about people, places and things that make Nashville unique. Sources: Metro Historical Commission; Archives of the Jewish Federation of Nashville; Nashville Room, Metro Public Library.
THE SILVER BULLET SERIES these are places that are unique and interesting and sometimes bizarre, but not quite up to virtual status quo but are very unusual just the same. These are all places I bet you have never been to or seen, and if you have please say so in your log.
Last Updated: on 1/15/2018 8:31:25 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (4:31 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum