Cedar Hill Cemetery Aka Erwin Mills Cemetery

36.016225, -78.941156

Year built
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The Erwin Mills Cemetery, now the Cedar Mills Cemetery, was established in 1893 by Erwin Mills as a cemetery for employees who could not afford burial elsewhere. Later, other people were also buried there.

I spied this cemetery out of a train window on my way to Greensboro awhile back and was in the neighborhood last week so I finally checked it out. It sits on a deadend portion of Pettigrew that you get to off of La Salle. It sits in the woods next to New Bethel Memorial Gardens. 

As far as abandoned cemeteries in Durham goes, it is one of the better taken care of. When Erwin Mills was sold to Burlington Industries, posession transferred to the Knights of Pythias, although the OWDNA has contributed to the upkeep in more recent times. 

There are over 200 burials here, with many gravestones quite legible. The last burial occured in the 1970s. 

(All photos taken 08.01.13 by K. Sieber)


There are actually more graves w/o headstones than with, as many of the EM employees couldn't afford them. I have several relatives buried there & only one has a marker which was handmade. The others have large stones. Further in the back are a few children's graves with headstones made of "Duke stone," the stone quarried for the building of Duke's West Campus, suggesting they were related or close to one of the stonemasons.

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