The Laurel Grove Cemetery is located on the west side of Savannah and named after the laurel oak trees that once inhabited the area. By the mid-1800s, the city had begun to run out of space to bury their dead and needed to find land for burial plots. They reached out to the Stiles family who owned the Springfield Plantation requesting to use part of their land for a new cemetery.
Established in 1850, the 67-acre cemetery is divided into two sections, North and South. They are separated by Highway 204. In 1853, fifteen acres of the south section were set aside for free persons of color and slaves to be buried. It was doubled six year later due to Savannah’s growth as the Old Negro Cemetery was needed for housing. Hundreds of remains were exhumed and relocated to Laurel Grove.
The Civil War was brutal to Savannah. Close to 1,500 fallen soldiers were buried in Laurel Grove North. It’s also the final resting place for Florus Martus, the Waving Girl, and Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. The author of Jingle Bells, James Lord Pierpont, also rests at Laurel Grove. Another popular mention is Louisa Porter’s site. Not much is known about Louisa; however, someone loved her enough to hire Italian sculptor, A. Caniparoli, to sculpt a Cararra marble angel for her grave.
In the mid-20th century, the city along with prominent citizens raised funds to renovate Laurel Grove.
The Cemetery is said to be haunted by a woman in a white dress that moves around from grave to grave during the day.
If you would like to visit the cemetery, Laurel Grove North and South are open from dawn to dusk. The trees draped with Spanish moss are nice haunting touch.