It isn’t always sad – there’s more to cemeteries than tombstones

I was persuaded to go to Mt Auburn Cemetery in Boston by the lure of it’s picturesque landscape – that it wasn’t a visit to other people’s deceased loved ones but a visit to an artfully designed park, like Pere Lachaise  Cemetery in Paris (established in 1804). So there were no images of gules and zombies in my mind when I visited it on a  disarmingly warm spring Boston day and sauntered around parts of this cultivated place.

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72 acres of mature woodland was purchased by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1831 for the creation of a “rural cemetery” and experimental garden. It is now notable for many reasons: it was the first large-scale public open space openned in America along with being its’ first landscaped cemetery  founded in 1831. It was a place that was designed tastefully as a park setting so that it was peaceful and inviting for  the visitors of deceased loved ones and became a model for the American “rural’ cmetery movement. It was also the first non-sectarian burial ground and visotrs vistied from both America and from abroad as they do today. It did resolve practical issues as well of needing more burial space and resolved an urban land use problem apparently by increasing the numbe of burials that could be done.

Whilst Mt Auburn doesn’t have quite the line-up of people buried there as Pere Lachaise but it does have some pretty impressive people amongst the 95,000 individuals buried there.


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