Rose Cemetery (sometimes known as Rose Hill Cemetery) has existed on five acres of land in Tarpon Springs for over a century. The oldest segregated cemetery in Pinellas County, its earliest marker is dated 1904. However, there is speculation that the area was used well before that date. Through the years, the grounds have developed a reputation for being one of the most haunted cemeteries on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Through the tall cemetery gates, you will notice a great disparity in many of the markers. Traditional tombstones are located near some other more “unique” grave stones. Conch shells indicative of the Bahamian cultural influences in the area, stones with last names etched onto them, cinder blocks with a single date painted on them.
A large number of bodies are interred at Rose Cemetery, with many of the earliest graves belong to leaders of local churches in the area. Perhaps the most famous resident is an African-American Confederate soldier named Richard Quarls (aka. Christopher Columbus). The most unusual grave might be that of Morris Lofton, a man who requested to be buried in his bed! The frame, though rusty, is still visible to this day.
Due to the Rose’s growing reputation, it is locked at night and routinely patrolled by local law enforcement. The cemetery has a definite atmosphere during the day, and many people have stated they experienced malevolent feelings during their visits. There is a volunteer group that meets on the second Saturday of each month to tidy up the grounds. The gates are open during the day and the cemetery is open to the public.