Our city in ruins: Gothic Revival Chapel in Mt. Olivet Cemetery 

Another crumbling beauty on the Nashville Nine list is the Gothic Revival Chapel in Mt. Olivet Cemetery (1101 Lebanon Pike), which is believed to have been designed by Ryman Auditorium architect Hugh Cathcart Thompson. The brick chapel has many unique architectural features, such as a cathedral ceiling with its original woodwork in its octagonal vestry, a built-in vault, and pointed arched windows.

This chapel, built in stages between the 1870s and 1940s, also housed the offices of Mt. Olivet Cemetery in a more modern building attached until the new funeral parlor and offices were built in 1996. Since then, the graceful little chapel has been left to rot, with vines climbing up over the roof and choking its two bell towers (and the original bells within). At first glance it appears to be in good shape, but a closer inspection shows that its glass is broken, its foundations are cracked and its roof leaks like a sieve.

The Tennessee Preservation Trust placed this building on its endangered properties list in 2005, the same year the entire 206-acre Mt. Olivet cemetery with its 192,000 burials was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Preservationists are currently working with the owners and the Metropolitan Nashville Historical Commission on options to buy time to save the landmark.


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