These historic rural cemeteries are a treasure-trove of art, architecture, and sculpture.
Not only are the New England states among the most progressive in America, they were also the birthplace of the rural cemetery movement. These cemeteries were designed by some of the most prominent landscape architects of their day to be parks as well as sanctuaries for the remains of loved ones. Wealthy citizens contributed millions to create beautiful funerary art and sculpture that you can still see today.
Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Mount Auburn Cemetery, at 580 Mt Auburn Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was the country’s first rural cemetery. Designed by landscape architect Alexander Wadsworth, it opened in 1841 and quickly became one of the most visited destinations in the country. Rural cemeteries were laid out like gardens, with winding paths, ponds, and hills, and many, like Mount Auburn, also serve as arboretums. Mount Auburn was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003. It is 200 acres and is the final resting place for approximately 70,000 people.
Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier, Vermont
Green Mount Cemetery, at 250 State Street (U.S. Route 2) in the City of Montpelier, Washington County, Vermont, was built in 1854 on terraces above the north bank of the Winooski River. Over 4,000 former residents are interred in this 35-acre burial ground, including at least four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, congressmen, and Samuel Prentiss, a U.S. senator and district court judge.
Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts
Designed by landscape architect Henry A. S. Dearborn and opened in 1848, Forest Hills Cemetery, at 95 Forest Hills Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts, is a historic rural cemetery. The area was originally owned by the town of Roxbury, until Boston annexed Roxbury in 1868. Its forested paths wind their way through 275 acres, in which approximately 16,000 people are laid to rest. Like many rural cemeteries, Forest Hills doubles as a garden and arboretum.
Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island
Swan Point Cemetery, at 585 Blackstone Boulevard in Providence, Rhode Island, is a private rural cemetery established in 1846. It was one of the country’s first rural cemeteries, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It encompasses 200 acres and is the final resting place for approximately 42,000 of the city’s former residents. Swan Point contains many beautiful bronze and white marble sculptures.
Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut
Cedar Hill Cemetery, at 453 Fairfield Avenue in Hartford, Connecticut, is a historic rural cemetery designed by landscape architect Jacob Weidenmann and opened in 1866. Its picturesque grounds encompass 270 acres and are the final resting place for over 32,000 of the city’s former residents, including multiple U.S. Congressmen, Connecticut governors, and Civil War generals.