Mount Auburn Cemetery


Mount Auburn Cemetery
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Mount Auburn Cemetery is located in Massachusetts
Location: Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°22′14″N 71°8′45″W / 42.37056°N 71.14583°W / 42.37056; -71.14583Coordinates: 42°22′14″N 71°8′45″W / 42.37056°N 71.14583°W / 42.37056; -71.14583
Built: 1831
Architect: Alexander Wadsworth; Dr. Jacob Bigelow
Architectural style: Exotic Revival, Other, Gothic Revival
Governing body: Private
NRHP Reference#: 75000254[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: April 21, 1975
Designated NHLD: May 27, 2003

Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831 as "America's first garden cemetery", or the first "rural cemetery", with classical monuments set in a rolling landscaped terrain.[2] The appearance of this type of landscape coincides with the rising popularity of the term "cemetery," which etymologically traces its roots back to the Greek for "a sleeping place." This language and outlook eclipsed the previous harsh view of death and the afterlife, pictorialized in old graveyards and church burial plots.[3] The 174-acre (70 ha) cemetery is important both for its historical aspects and for its role as an arboretum. Most of the cemetery is located in Watertown, Massachusetts, though the 1843 granite Egyptian revival entrance lies in neighboring Cambridge, adjacent to the Cambridge City and Sand Banks Cemeteries.

Contents

History

Egyptian revival entrance to Mount Auburn Cemetery

The land that would eventually become Mount Auburn Cemetery was originally named Stone's Farm, though locals referred to it as "Sweet Auburn" after the 1770 poem "The Deserted Village" by Oliver Goldsmith.[4] Mount Auburn Cemetery was inspired by Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris and was itself an inspiration to cemetery designers, most notably at Abney Park in London. Mount Auburn Cemetery was designed largely by Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn with assistance from Dr. Jacob Bigelow and Alexander Wadsworth.

Bigelow came up with the idea for Mount Auburn as early as 1825, though a site was not acquired until five years later.[5] Bigelow, a medical doctor, was concerned about the unhealthiness of burials under churches as well as the possibility of running out of space.[6] With help from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded on 70 acres (280,000 m2) of land authorized by the Massachusetts Legislature for use as a garden or rural cemetery.[7] The purchase of the original land cost $6,000; it later extended to 170 acres (0.69 km2). The main gate was built in the Egyptian Revival style and cost $10,000.[8] The first president of the Mount Auburn Association, Joseph Story, dedicated the cemetery in 1831.[6]

The cemetery is credited as the beginning of the American public parks and gardens movement. It set the style for other suburban American cemeteries such as Laurel Hill Cemetery (Philadelphia, 1836), Mt. Hope Cemetery, America's first municipal rural cemetery (Rochester, New York, 1838), Green-Wood Cemetery (Brooklyn, 1838), The Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland 1838, Albany Rural Cemetery (Menands, New York, 1844) and Forest Hills Cemetery (Jamaica Plain, 1848) as well as Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse, New York. It can be considered the link between Capability Brown's English landscape gardens and Frederick Law Olmsted's Central Park in New York (1850s).

The main tower in the Cemetery

Mount Auburn was established at a time when Americans had a sentimental interest in rural cemeteries.[9] It is still well known for its tranquil atmosphere and accepting attitude toward death. Many of the more traditional monuments feature poppy flowers, symbols of blissful sleep. In the late 1830s, its first unofficial guide, Picturesque Pocket Companion and Visitor's Guide Through Mt. Auburn, was published and featured descriptions of some of the more interesting monuments as well as a collection of prose and poetry about death by writers including Nathaniel Hawthorne and Willis Gaylord Clark.[9] Because of the number of visitors, the cemetery's developers carefully regulated the grounds: They had a policy to remove "offensive and improper" monuments and only "proprietors" (i.e., plot owners) could have vehicles on the grounds and were allowed within the gates on Sundays and holidays.[9]

Cemetery today

Signs such as this one for Fir Avenue mark the various lanes in the cemetery

More than 93,000 people are buried in the cemetery as of 2003.[8] A number of historically significant people have been interred there since its inception, particularly members of the Boston Brahmins and the Boston elite associated with Harvard University as well as a number of prominent Unitarians.

The cemetery is nondenominational and continues to make space available for new plots. The area is well known for its beautiful environs and is a favorite location for Cambridge bird-watchers. Guided tours of the cemetery's historic, artistic, and horticultural points of interest are available.

Mount Auburn's collection of over 5,500 trees includes nearly 700 species and varieties. Thousands of very well-kept shrubs and herbaceous plants weave through the cemetery's hills, ponds, woodlands, and clearings. The cemetery contains more than 10 miles (17 km) of roads and many paths. Landscaping styles range from Victorian-era plantings to contemporary gardens, from natural woodlands to formal ornamental gardens, and from sweeping vistas through majestic trees to small enclosed spaces. Many trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are tagged with botanic labels containing their scientific and common names.

The cemetery was among those profiled in the 2005 PBS documentary A Cemetery Special.

A panoramic view of the Boston Skyline as seen from the Washington Tower at Mt. Auburn.

Notable burials

Bigelow Chapel
Cemetery designer, Dr. Jacob Bigelow's grave

See also

References

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html. 
  2. ^ Bunting, Bainbridge; Robert H. Nylander (1973). Old Cambridge. Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge Historical Commission. p. 69. ISBN 0262530147. 
  3. ^ Bernhard Lang and Colleen McDaniel, Heaven: A History. Yale University Press, 2001.
  4. ^ Wilson, Susan (2000). Literary Trail of Greater Boston. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 114. ISBN 0-618-05013-2. 
  5. ^ Reps, John W. (1965 (reprinted 1992)). The Making of Urban America: A History of City Planning in the United States'. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-691-00618-5. 
  6. ^ a b Carrott, Richard G. (1978). The Egyptian Revival: Its Sources, Monuments, and Meaning, 1808–1858. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 86. 
  7. ^ Barth, Gunther (1989). Craig Robert Zabel. ed. The Park Cemetery: Its Western Migration in American Public Architecture: European Roots and Native Expressions. Penn State Press. p. 61. ISBN 091577304X. 
  8. ^ a b Rogak, Lisa (2004). Stones and Bones of New England: A Guide to Unusual, Historic, and Otherwise Notable Cemeteries. Globe Pequot. pp. 69, 71. ISBN 9780762730001. 
  9. ^ a b c Douglas, Ann (1977). The Feminization of American Culture. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 210–211. ISBN 0-394-40532-3. 
  10. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Corbett, William. Literary New England: A History and Guide. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1993: 106. ISBN 0-571-19816-3
  12. ^ Wyman J. (1903). Biographical memoir of Augustus Addison Gould 1805-1866. 91-113. Read before The National Academy of Sciences, April 22, 1903.
  13. ^ Novick, Sheldon M. (1989). Honorable Justice: The Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 200. ISBN 0-316-61325-8. 
  14. ^ Beers, Henry A. (1913). Nathaniel Parker Willis. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 350. 

Further reading

External links


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  • Mount Auburn Cemetery — bezeichnet mehrere gleichnamige, im NRHP gelistete, Objekte: Mount Auburn Cemetery (Baltimore, Maryland), ID Nr. 01000456 Mount Auburn Cemetery (Cambridge, Massachusetts), ID Nr. 75000254 Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur U …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mount Auburn Cemetery (Baltimore, Maryland) — Mount Auburn Cemetery U.S. National Register of Historic Places U.S. Historic district …   Wikipedia

  • Mount Auburn Cemetery (disambiguation) — Mount Auburn Cemetery may refer to: in the United States (by state) Mount Auburn Cemetery (Harvard, Illinois) Mount Auburn Cemetery (Baltimore, Maryland), listed on the NRHP in Maryland Mount Auburn Cemetery, listed on the NRHP in Massachusetts… …   Wikipedia

  • Mount Auburn Cemetery (Harvard, Illinois) — Mount Auburn Cemetery Details Country United States Location Harvard, Illinois Coordinates 42°24 49 N 88°35 36 W Mount Auburn Cemetery is a cemetery located in Harvard, Illinois …   Wikipedia

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  • Mount Albion Cemetery — Terraced graves and tall trees, 2010 Details Year established 1842.[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Mount Auburn — ist der Name mehrerer Orte in den Vereinigten Staaten: Mount Auburn (Illinois) Mount Auburn (Indiana) Mount Auburn (Iowa) Mount Auburn (Kentucky) sowie mehrerer Friedhöfe: Mount Auburn Cemetery (Massachusetts) Mount Auburn Cemetery (Illinois)… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mount Auburn — is the name of several places in the United States: Mount Auburn, Illinois Mount Auburn Township, Illinois Mount Auburn, Indiana Mount Auburn, Iowa Mount Auburn Cemetery in Massachusetts Mount Auburn Historic District in Cincinnati, Ohio …   Wikipedia

  • Mount Pleasant Cemetery (Taunton, Massachusetts) — Mount Pleasant Cemetery U.S. National Register of Historic Places …   Wikipedia


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