Bellefontaine Cemetery, located at 4947 West Florissant Avenue, is one of the largest and oldest cemeteries in St. Louis, MO. Established in 1849, it was created to accommodate a growing city population. The founders saw the need for a spacious rural cemetery and thus purchased 138 acres north of the city and named it Bellefontaine. The first internment took place on April 27, 1850.
The development of the cemetery had excellent timing, as a cholera epidemic hit the city that year and many of those who perished were buried in Bellefontaine. The cemetery now has 314 acres of beautifully maintained grounds, over 14 miles of paved roads and numerous monuments and mausoleums, including the Wainwright Tomb, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Some famous people buried in Bellefontaine include:
- William Clark – Born: August 1, 1770 | Died: September 1, 1838. Explorer (yes, the ‘Lewis and Clark’ explorer).
- Adolphus Busch – Born: July 10, 1842 | Died: October 10, 1913. He co-founded the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company (which is now a subsidiary of Belgian-owned Anheuser-Busch InBev. The beer still tastes the same, though).
- Sara Teasdale – Born: August 8, 1884 | Died: January 29, 1933. An accomplished poet, she won the 1918 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for ‘Love Songs.’
If you happen to visit St. Louis, consider a visit to Bellefontaine Cemetery. It truly is an outdoor museum with a lot of history – a St. Louis landmark that is off the beaten path and is open to the public year round.
So…I suppose you’re wondering if it’s haunted. Well, aren’t all cemeteries haunted? I’ve never experienced any ‘paranormal activity’ during my visits there…but then again, I don’t make it a habit to go looking for ‘paranormal activity.’ Rumors abound that the cholera victims buried in Bellefontaine haunt the grounds, and there are stories about the members of the Lemp family, who have a tragic history involving suicide and are buried in the Lemp Family Tomb, which is the largest tomb in the cemetery. So I don’t know if it is haunted and there’s nobody who really knows. The dead tell no tales.
Here are some pictures* of the cemetery:
* All pictures courtesy of Beth Santore – Grave Addiction