Jodie Davis, a resident in the Normal Station area, said that the cemetery has been abandoned for quite some time and feels that nobody has any respect for the graves on the land.
“Kids hang out over here and people let their dogs use the bathroom in the lot,” Davis said. “I think its disrespect to those that are buried there to have it looking it like that and not keeping it up.”
Community Safety Liaison for the University of Memphis, Tk Buchanan, said that the vacant lot is where most of the young people hang out, and it has become a plac for drug and alcohol abuse.
“This place also has many hiding places because of the overgrowth, and it’s a real dangerous place to go by yourself,” Buchanan said.
This old and neglected cemetery has been messy and disorganized for quite some time; somewhat like the houses that are also in the area. Neighborhood residents wonder if trying to clean it up and preserve the cemetery might invite more harm than good.
“We want to honor the dead without encroaching on their space,” Buchanan said. “The ultimate goal for the property is to revitalize the space so that it may be a community asset and serve as a monument.”
David Madison is the oldest known heir to the property. The Madison family, which owned large plots of land along the south side of Southern Avenue, was the first to subdivide the property to accommodate the imminent suburb the University would bring.
The Madisons’ had acquired the land 10 years earlier from a relative, Julia Eckles, who sold them the properties for “$1, Love and Affection", according to the deed.