MassMoments reminds us that on this day – June 23, 1831 – the Legislature granted the Massachusetts Horticultural Society permission to purchase land to establish an experimental garden and a rural cemetery.This decision led to the creation of the landmark Mt. Auburn Cemetery – the first large-scale designed landscape open to the public in the United States. This concept was copied widely throughout the United States, giving birth to the rural cemetery movement and the tradition of garden cemeteries. The Lowell Cemetery established in 1841 was part of this movement.
…in 1831, the legislature granted the Massachusetts Horticultural Society permission to purchase land for use as an experimental garden and a rural cemetery. Located on the border of Cambridge and Watertown, the garden failed, but the cemetery became world famous. As the first rural cemetery in America, Mount Auburn pioneered the idea of burying the dead not in urban churchyards but in a beautifully designed, naturalistic landscape on the outskirts of the city. The idea caught on and eventually led to the creation of public parks in metropolitan areas. 180 years after the cemetery was consecrated, the dead are still being laid to rest along Mount Auburn’s winding paths, in her wooded dells, and on her gentle hillsides.