Situated on a rolling hillside in downtown Columbia Tennessee sits Rose Hill cemetery founded in 1853 and land donated by Mayor Meredith Helm. The Decatur Nashville Railroad, located nest to Rose Hill made this a strategic location during and immediately after the Civil War. Rose Hill Cemetery boasts a fusion of both the rural Upland South folk graveyard tradition and the new, European-inspired, Victorian garden cemetery.
Rosemount, adjacent to Rose Hill is the final resting place for many of Columbia’s prominent citizens and heroes, including members of the United States Colored Troops (USCT), men who fought valiantly during the Civil War, as well as Dr. J.C. Halfacre, a prominent physician. Halfacre also served as an alderman from Columbia’s Third Ward. Rosemount, Columbia’s first urban African American cemetery, is also the largest of Maury County’s African American cemeteries. Though separated by a fence and established decades apart, the significance of the cultural landscape-cemetery district-can only be understood when both sides of mirror cemeteries are assessed together. Rose Hill and Rosemount Cemeteries project conducted in Spring 2014 under the auspices of Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Historic Preservation at the request of the community. There were three principal components: a historical assessment of both cemeteries; an overview of preservation considerations; and recommendations for heritage development. Both cemeteries are currently in use, serve different communities, and operate as stand-alone entities. For the first time in sixty years representatives from both cemeteries are working together for a mutual purpose of a National Register of Historic Places nomination.