Tall Hill Cemetery in Hixson, Tennessee is on a wooded, neglected plot in the middle of an area experiencing tremendous change.
I like to think that I embrace change. Change is good. Change is necessary to keep things moving and keep life exciting. But when it comes to our communities and our ways of life and the historical significance of our neighborhood cemeteries, I’m a bit nostalgic. Sometimes change can overstep its bounds.
The Area Around Tall Hill Cemetery – Out With The Old
Surrounding Tall Hill Cemetery is a dated subdivision with houses built in the 1970s. Homeowners take pride in their subdivision, as they have for generations. However, big changes are coming to this community. This once sleepy area near Chattanooga Tennessee has fallen into the sights of major development companies. The subdivisions of the 1970s, like the one in the neighborhood of Tall Hill, are out of fashion these days. Newer, bigger design strategies call for the leveling of all that is old. With real-estate signs popping up along the roadside of Highway 153 like the red carpet being rolled out for Agamemnon, it won’t be long until the secluded nature of this immediate area experiences a demise from the pride that comes from soaring real estate prices.
In fact, that change has already affected the land immediately across Hwy 153. Hills and farm houses which once inhabited Grubb Road were razed in the early 2000s. Roads, a farm, and a way of life for many people disappeared to make way for a sports store and a sprawling black-topped parking lot. A few hundred yards away, bulldozers were quite during my visit but I could readily see barren land that was once a wooded hillside only a few weeks ago. As I drove to Tall Hill, my map showed the cut-through of a small country lane shaded by old growth trees but, alas, that lane was bulldozed away, along with a natural hillside, to make way for retail space.
Tall Hill Cemetery – Succumbing To Change?
Tall Hill Cemetery is one of those cemeteries at highest risk for being wrongfully impacted by construction efforts. Tall Hill is long forgotten and neglected. Many relatives of those buried here have moved away or passed-away themselves. Save for a roughly maintained pathway into the heavily overgrown burial ground, there would be no visual indication of anything other than a wooded lot. Someone in the area keeps the narrow pathway cleared to several grave sites. However, vegetation and fallen trees have obliterated many of the gravestones in the innermost sections. Beneath the overgrowth, I scrambled in a crouched posture to view the few remaining gravestones and the myriad sunken grave sites. I wonder what has happened to the gravestones that were once placed atop these now vacant graves.
The earliest grave marker I found had a DOD of 1910. The remaining readable gravestones spanned years up to and including the 1970s.
Cemeteries Need Protection
As I drove away, passed the real-estate signs advertising high-end development projects, I fantasized about the property development companies in the immediate area devoting some of their resources to protecting and rehabilitating Tall Hill Cemetery.
Yes, change is good. And so is protecting the historical significance of our long forgotten neighborhood cemeteries.