Old City Cemetery

The buried archaeological remains of the 1820 Old First Presbyterian Church

Oldest Historic Site in Murfreesboro

The “Old City Cemetery” is the oldest historic site in Murfreesboro and encompasses the archaeological remains of the original First Presbyterian Church (1820), its burying ground (1820), and the city’s first public cemetery, opened in 1837. The church was the location of significant social and political events and activities related to the Civil War.

Murfreesboro served as the capital of Tennessee from 1818-1826. The TN legislature met at the church in 1822, as the log county courthouse had burned down. In attendance were James K. Polk, David “Davy” Crockett, Aaron Venable Brown, and several other notable Tennesseans. At this meeting, Andrew Jackson was nominated for his first run for president in 1824. (He later won in 1828).

During the Civil War, the church served as a field hospital, storehouse, encampment, and perhaps a stable. The church was destroyed by Union soldiers and its remains are now one of the best-preserved historic archaeological sites in Tennessee. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this site represents the early days of “Murfreesborough” and Tennessee.

Founding families, soldiers, the enslaved, and other early residents of the city are buried here. One of the most noticeable headstones in the cemetery is for Nathan Bedford Forrest and his crusaders. Housed in the same cemetery are several unmarked graves of enslaved people that passed in Murfreesboro.



300 E. Vine St, Murfreesboro, TN 37130 ~ The cemetery is surrounded by a high wire fence and the entrance gate is kept padlocked by the city. To enter the cemetery, you must show your driver's license to the mayor's office at City Hall (311 West Vine St.). They will call Bradley Academy, which is the official key holder for the cemetery, and they will allow you to walk in and look around.