In 1890, availability of lots at Linwood Cemetery, the oldest institution of the Columbus city government, was becoming scarce. At that time, the city acquired additional property on 10th Avenue which became Riverdale Cemetery. The brick building near the entrance, erected in 1915, originally included a chapel, housing for the city sexton and a bell tower atop an arched passageway for funeral processions. Many citizens who have contributed significantly to the development and history of Columbus are buried here.
Through the years, special sections have been marked at the cemetery, including the American Legion for veterans of the armed forces, a separate area for Spanish-American War veterans highlighted by a monument to the Maine, two sections for members of the Jewish community, and an area of miniature lots called "Baby Land". In addition, a monument resembling a circus tent was placed by the Kennedy Circus in Section 1 to memorialize those killed in a 1915 accident involving a circus train from the Con T. Kennedy Shows and a Central of Georgia passenger train.