Famous Ashevillians buried in Riverside Cemetery

Catch the cemetery at its greenest starting in the spring | Photo via @nomadikrebelcreative

Catch the cemetery at its greenest starting in the spring | Photo by @nomadikrebelcreative

Take a walk on the Riverside for lush greenery, ancient mausoleums, and plenty of star-sightings — many famous + notable folks are buried at Asheville’s own Riverside Cemetery. Here’s just a few famous names to spot while exploring the 87-acre grounds.

William Sydney Porter was born in Guilford County, NC | Photo via Buncombe County Special Collections

William Sydney Porter was born in Guilford County, NC | Photo via Buncombe County Special Collections

🖋️ William Sidney Porter

Pennies often decorate this writer’s grave — known by the pen name O. Henry, this famous American short story author wrote tales like “The Gift of the Magi.” The pennies that visitors leave refer to the story’s opening line, where protagonist Della Young has only $1.87 to buy a gift for her husband, “and sixty cents of it was in pennies.

📸 George Masa

20th century photographer George Masa mapped out hundreds of uncleared trails in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and is credited as one of the main reasons the Smoky Mountains gained the support necessary to become Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you want to know even more, don’t worry — we wrote a whole history piece on this famous Ashevillian.

🎨 Kenneth Noland

Artist Kenneth Noland was one of the most influential American Color Field painters (think abstract art where large, two-dimensional panels of color are the star). Noland was born in Asheville and attended Black Mountain College. Bonus: View some of his famous works.

🪰 Dr. Lewis McCormick

This bacteriologist was known as “The Fly Man of Asheville.” He was dedicated to reducing the transmission of diseases by stopping a key carrier: the fly. Dr. McCormick passed a fly ordinance in Asheville + was the subject of many a 20th century political cartoon.

Lillian Exum Clement Stafford introduced 17 bills as a legislator | Photo via Buncombe County Special Collections

Lillian Exum Clement Stafford introduced 17 bills as a legislator | Photo via Buncombe County Special Collections

🗳️ Lillian Exum Clement Stafford

Lillian made history as the first woman elected to the North Carolina General Assembly. She was 26 at the time and won by 10,368 to 41 votes (color us impressed). Psst — she’s featured on our list of four women who made Asheville history.

For more famous graves, take a virtual tour or book a walking tour at the cemetery office.

More from AVL Today