Historic, scenic Green Hill Cemetery attracts visitors in Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- You probably think of cemeteries as a final resting place for the deceased.

But there is one in Greensboro that is very much alive.

Green Hill is one of the oldest active public cemeteries in the city. It covers 51 acres and opened in 1877 on the north end of downtown.

It has many familiar names, buried here.

“Ethyl and Julian Price. Julian helped develop the Jefferson Standard Life," says Ann Stringfield, a member of the Friends of Green Hill Cemetery Organization.

It’s also known for the greenery that branches around the area.

Coming to a cemetery to just sit and enjoy all of nature may seem disrespectful to some, but Stringfield says it’s encouraged – in fact, come and have a meal here.

"What a wonderful place for respite in this busy world,” says Ann.

She is a guide for history buffs and others with a love for nature here.

“The tours I give, I call ‘The plants and the planted,'” she says, “because we talk about the people buried here as well as some of the plants we pass along the way.”

Along this tour, you will see the headstones of other famous citizens of the area such as Bryan and Richardson, but also see an unusual collection of trees -- between two and three dozen types of oaks, redwoods, sugar maples as well as palm trees.

All of this greenery though takes great care to maintain. Doug Goldman, a USDA botanist who grew up in New York, is enamored with the scenery.

"I've come to realize, the appeal of botany to most botanist is probably similar to the appeal of art for artist and art lovers: It's the variation, it's the diversity and it's looking at those fine details," Goldman said.

There is so much to explore that there is a place for you to go an look at each tree on a map.

People like Goldman who have been around this cemetery are still learning things about the unique nature of Green Hill.

"The fact that I’m still finding things in here that I hadn't identified is amazing," he says.

Goldman points out how some of the greenery didn't just pop up. It was the work of one dedicated man in particular in the 1980s and 90s.

"Bill Craft planted a lot of crazy stuff here. There's a lot of really neat things," Goldman said. "It took me awhile to figure it out and then when I figured it out what it was, I couldn't believe it. This spruce here, is a black spruce. That's a northing thing. If you wanted to see it in its natural habitat, the nearest place to see it is in Pennsylvania."

After 141 years, this place still continues to attract many to the area and you should come see the majesty for yourself. To learn more head over to the Buckley Report.