Mount Olivet Cemetery, Fort Worth
About Mount Olivet Cemetery, Fort Worth
Mount Olivet Cemetery is a historic cemetery in Fort Worth, Texas. With its first burial in 1907, Mount Olivet is the first perpetual care cemetery in the South. Its 130-acre site is located northeast of downtown Fort Worth at the intersection of North Sylvania Avenue and 28th Street adjacent to the Oakhurst Historic District. Over 70,000 people are buried at Mount Olivet, including Fort Worth settlers and members of many prominent local families.
R.O. Phillips, former superintendent of Pioneers Rest cemetery, was hired to manage the site and the cemetery’s offices were housed in the Western National Bank building in downtown Fort Worth. Mount Olivet was the first cemetery in the southern United States to offer perpetual care; 25% of the cost of each burial plot went into a reserve fund, whose interest paid for ongoing maintenance of the property. Trustees of the reserve fund included representatives of the mayor’s office, the 48th district court, and the office of the Tarrant County judge. The Mount Olivet Company was incorporated on June 6, 1908 with Flavious McPeak as president; former mayor B. B. Paddock was also a trustee.
The cemetery was advertised daily in the Fort Worth Telegram newspaper throughout 1907 and 1908. In 1908, a new road connecting Fort Worth and then-suburb Riverside was built, making the cemetery far more accessible to local residents. In 1909, a receiving vault with 32 crypts was constructed to facilitate burials and prevent grave-robbing. The $8,000 construction cost forced McPeak to default on loans, and he foreclosed in 1912. The directors of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank of Fort Worth paid off McPeak’s debt and assumed ownership. To further promote the cemetery and its parklike setting, the Mount Olivet Cemetery Association established bus service from downtown Fort Worth in 1914. The “auto passenger bus” ran six times a day between the cemetery and the Flatiron Building. Local businessman William J. Bailey acquired Mount Olivet in 1917, and his son, John, became its general manager in 1945. In 1956, the Baileys converted the Mount Olivet company into a nonprofit organization. The original cemetery’s articles of incorporation stating that “no negro or person of African descent shall ever be interred on said lots” were found to be illegal and were amended in 1969. Though it had been restored in the 1940s, the receiving vault was determined to be beyond repair and demolished in 1983.
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sundays by appointment