The Riverside Cemetery encompasses 87 acres of rolling hills and flower gardens overlooking the French Broad River. Riverside Cemetery dates to 1885, when the Asheville Cemetery Company established the land as a municipal graveyard to answer the growing need for burial grounds. The City of Asheville adopted the cemetery in 1952. It is still an active cemetery with more than 13,000 people buried here, 9000 monuments and 12 family mausoleums. Many of the graves in Riverside contain remains which were removed from other burial grounds and re-interred here. Once inside the large iron gates, you may take a self-guided walking tour through ancient oak, poplar, dogwood and ginkgo trees.
Riverside is the burial place of noted authors Thomas Wolfe and William Sidney Porter, better known as O. Henry. You can learn about Confederate generals James Martin, Robert B. Vance and Thomas Clingman. Some of the names recorded in Riverside Cemetery are those of the city's most prominent citizens: Jeter C. Pritchard, T. S. Morrison, Thomas Patton, and Zebulon B. Vance. Individuals of note interred at Riverside Cemetery include: Isacc Dickson, the first African American to be appointed to an Asheville City School Board; Quenn Carson, Asheville's first female public school principal; George Masa, a Japanese photographer who documented much of the Blue Ridge Mountains and was integral in the establishment of Great Smokey Mountains National Park; James H. Posey, a bodyguard to Abraham Lincoln; and the remains of 18 German sailors from WWI. Riverside Cemetery is maintained by the City of Asheville, Parks and Recreation Department and has been designated a Buncombe County Treasure Tree Preserve.
Riverside Cemetery is located along Birch St. off Pearson Dr. within the Montford Area Historic District. Visitors are welcome 8:00am to 8:00pm during daylight savings time, and until 6:00pm the rest of the year. Self-guided tour packets are available at Riverside Cemetery office Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm. For information visit the City of Asheville's Parks and Recreation Department website or call 828-350-2066.