From New England Magazine
Mount Auburn Cemetery.
By Frank Foxcroft.
Illustrated from photographs by Phineas Hubbard.
Mount Auburn is the oldest of the many beautiful suburban cemeteries of the United States. It was consecrated in 1831. Laurel Hill, near Philadelphia, was incorporated five years, and Greenwood
Cemetery, near New York, six years, later. The intervening sixty years have witnessed the extension of the ideas which first found expression at Mount Auburn, until now there are few towns or cities where the resting places of the dead are not made beautiful by trees and flowers and shaded walks and drives.
Prior to the opening of Mount Auburn, the dead of Boston were buried in the old cemeteries in the crowded parts of the city, and the cellars of the churches were filled with sepulchres. It was a knowledge of the serious evils attendant upon these customs which led Dr. Jacob Bigelow* of Boston, in 1825, to call together a few representative men of the city to lay before them a plan for a rural cemetery, to be composed of family burial lots, separated and interspersed with trees, shrubs and flowers, in a wood or landscape garden. The plan was approved, and a committee was appointed to look for a suitable location.
About this time, a tract of land situated in Cambridge and Watertown and known as "Stone's Woods" was bought by Mr. George W. Brimmer. The Harvard students knew the place as "Sweet Auburn," and it was to save from destruction its trees and other natural attractions that Mr. Brimmer, an ardent lover of nature, made the purchase. When Dr. Bigelow, in 1830, proposed to Mr. Brimmer the purchase of the whole tract for use as a cemetery, he readily consented to sell it at the original cost to himself.
The Massachusetts Horticultural Society had been incorporated the year preceding. Dr. Bigelow went before the officers of the society with the proposition to acquire "Sweet Auburn" for the establishment of a cemetery. His plan was approved, but the infant society had no funds to draw upon; and accordingly meetings were held and committees were appointed to bring the plan to the notice of the public. A suggestion was made by the horticulturists to include an experimental garden for the cultivation of flowers and fruits, but this was not attempted. It was decided, however,
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