Opened in 1857, Myrtle Hill Cemetery is one of three cemeteries in Rome, Georgia, that sits on top of a hill to avoid potential flooding from nearby rivers, the Etowah and Oostanaula. The cemetery got its name from the creeping myrtle that covered the cemetery.
There were several Civil War battles in and around Rome, which necessitated the use of Myrtle Hill as a Confederate burial ground. Additionally, there were hospitals to take care of the sick and wounded, so many of those soldiers were buried in the Confederate section of Myrtle Hill.
The cemetery consists of several plateaus (terraces) to create the layered wedding cake design of the roads and sections of the cemeteries. The highest point in the cemetery is known as Crown Point.
Ida Bennett Bass was the daughter of prominent Atlantans, Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Bennett. She married Charles Bass, who was from a prominent Rome family. They had four children, but only one lived past infancy. During her third pregnancy, she died during childbirth while giving birth to twins. The son, Edward, died the next day, and her daughter Miriam lived another two months.
Ida’s parents refused to bury their child in Rome and brought her to Atlanta to be buried in Oakland Cemetery. One story about Ida is that her ghost will travel from Atlanta to visit her children and husband who are buried in Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Rome.
Another story about Ida is that when the house she lived in caught on fire, one wall was untouched. When workers went to remove a mirror, they found an image of a mother holding two infants.
The daughter Miriam is buried in Oakland Cemetery.
Located on the campus of Berry College in Rome, Georgia, is one of the largest wooden overshot waterwheels at 42 feet in diameter. It was originally constructed in Hermitage, Georgia. Once a thriving mining town, Hermitage has essentially disappeared. Martha Berry, the founder of Berry College, convinced the landowner to allow the mill to be located on the Berry College campus. In 1930, the mill was disassembled and reassembled by Berry students.
If you’ve never visited Berry College, I highly recommend going in the fall. The guard at the entrance will ask where you are headed, and you can tell them to the mill. They should give you a campus map so you can see the campus at one of its prettiest times.