A Louisville Landmark

Cemetery researcher Higgs to give guided tour of Cave Hill

Program to educate public
about the historic cemetery

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (November 2014) – For the last 13 years, Michael Higgs has spent a lot of time and energy each day thinking about Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. He is a very vital part of the public relations network that informs the public about one of the areas largest and well-attended cemeteries.

Photo courtesy of www.saveagrave.net

Col. Harlan Sanders’ grave is
located inside Cave Hill Cemetery
in Louisville, Ky. City founder
and explorer George Rogers Clark
is also buried there.

Cave Hill Cemetery has been a part of Louisville’s historic landscape for the past 166 years. It has an interesting background and is visited by many descendants and researchers throughout the year.
Higgs is also the Foundation Coordinator for the Cave Hill Heritage Foundation. “Cave Hill Cemetery was chartered by the General Assembly of Kentucky in February 1848. There are 136,000 people buried on the grounds, and it is still an active cemetery,” said Higgs, 31.
Part of Higgs’ job is to educate the public about Cave Hill Cemetery. He does so through many different programs throughout the year.
Higgs will present a program titled “The Past, Present, and Future of Louisville’s Landmark: Cave Hill Cemetery” at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15, at the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Genealogical Research Library, 809 W. Main St. in Louisville.

Cave Hill Cemetery is a Victorian-era National Cemetery and arboretum located at 701 Baxter Ave., Louisville, Ky. Its main entrance is on Baxter Avenue and there is a secondary one on Grinstead Drive. It is the largest cemetery by area and number of burials in Louisville.

“Within the presentation, I’ll talk about quite a few different topics,” he said. A Powerpoint presentation will take a look at the history of the cemetery, its residents, horticultural highlights and preserving the cemetery for the future.
“We host programs several times a year on history and genealogy at our library,” said Rae Ann Sauer, Assistant Librarian and Archivist for the SAR Genealogical Research Library. “We also welcome local historical and genealogical groups in for research days or to have their group meetings at our library.”
Sauer said that “as a library focused on genealogy and history, we felt a program on a historical cemetery like Cave Hill was a perfect fit. Cemetery research is very important in genealogy research, and many local library users have ancestors buried in Cave Hill. Therefore, this program will be beneficial to many of our users or locals that are interested in history, art and horticulture.”
Higgs said the cemetery “is not only a cemetery, but also an outdoor art gallery. The monuments were crafted by hand by true artisans, and some are very large.”
Some of the notable people buried in Cave Hill Cemetery include Col. Harland Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame and Gen. George Rogers Clark, founder of the city of Louisville.
There are several public tours offered at Cave Hill Cemetery, such as a historical walking tour, Civil War Walking Tour and an Arboretum Tour.
In his role as Foundation Coordinator for the Cave Hill Heritage Foundation, Higgs is “consistently raising funds for the cemetery.”
The purpose of the foundation is threefold, he said. Efforts include restoring the monuments and historic structures, preserving the arboretum setting and providing educational opportunities for the community. In regard to the arboretum, “we’ve planted 140 new trees this year.”

Photo provided

Michael Higgs has been employed by Cave Hill Cemetery for 13 years.

Higgs gives a program similar to this one several times a year through the Louisville Free Public Library. A new program he is working on centers around Basic Cemetery Preservation. “It will be a comprehensive, packaged presentation with a lot of useful information,” he said.
Higgs is a graduate of Bellarmine University with a bachelor’s degree in English. He also attended Indiana Wesleyan University, where he obtained a Master of Science in Management. Higgs serves as an Adjunct for Jefferson Community and Technical College System.
A $5 fee will be charged to non-members of the SAR Genealogical Research Library for “The Past, Present, and Future of Louisville’s Landmark: Cave Hill Cemetery.” Members of the SAR/DAR/FOL receive free admission.

• For more information, contact the SAR Genealogical Research Library at (502) 588-6130.

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