Written by Grant Stevens, National Trust for Historic Preservation
This might seem a little odd, but old and historic cemeteries are actually one of my favorite places to visit. Whether they are tiny little pioneer cemeteries like the one I grew up near, or big, world-renowned cemeteries like Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, cemeteries have always been a destination. I find them to be calming, often beautifully designed places that provide an interesting way to look at the history of the place and how it has evolved. Below, I've rounded up a few of my favorites from Instagram.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is a military cemetery in San Diego, California, that overlooks the San Diego Bay and the city from one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other. (Fort Rosecrans is named after William Starke Rosecrans, a Union general in the American Civil War.) Many interments date to the early years of the California Republic, including the remains of the casualties of the Battle of San Pasqual in 1846.
Sleepy Hollow #sleepyhollow #sleepyhollowcemetary #cemetary #spooky #ghosts #dead #headstones A photo posted by @mikedee42 on
Located about 3.5 miles north of Lyndhurst, one of our historic sites, is Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the resting place of numerous famous figures, including Washington Irving, whose story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" brought fame to the town. It is contiguous with, but separate from, the Old Dutch Burying Ground, the spot identified as the resting place of the Headless Horseman in Irving's story.
Brucemore, another of our historic sites, actually has its own pet cemetery. The third family to call Brucemore home, Howard and Margaret Hall, kept several pets on the property, including two German shepherds, a monkey, several birds, and even three lions (all named Leo)! One of the lions, as well as 20 dogs, are buried in the pet cemetery near the gardens.
The Eugene Pioneer Cemetery was founded in 1872 by the Spencer Butte Lodge No. 9 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is located adjacent to the campus of the University of Oregon. In at least three sessions of the Oregon State Legislature, bills were introduced which would have allowed the University to condemn the property, remove graves, and build on the land; the last attempt was in January 1963. All of the legislative bills died in committee. (Read about another Oregon cemetery, the Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in Portland.)
Originally, I was searching for photos of Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota, but while on the hashtag, I ran across a different Mount Moriah Cemetery, this time in Philly. The cemetery was poorly maintained for decades, closing in 2011. The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery was formed at the same time as a "nonprofit organization comprised of volunteers who are determined to do all that we can to preserve the history and legacy of the historic Mount Moriah Cemetery and her residents." They host regular clean-up days, including one this Saturday!
A post about cemeteries isn't complete without mentioning the famous above-ground vaults of New Orleans. Saint Louis Cemetery is the name of three Roman Catholic cemeteries, all of which contain above-ground vaults; most were constructed in the 18th century and 19th century. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest and most famous. It was opened in 1789, replacing the city's older St. Peter Cemetery (no longer in existence) as the main burial ground when the city was redesigned after a fire in 1788.
Last week, on my final day in Cincinnati with the Yes on 8 Campaign, I had a chance to make a quick stop at the Spring Grove Cemetery, and I'm glad I did! Encompassing 733 acres (400 of which is currently landscaped and maintained), Spring Grove is the second largest cemetery in the United States and is a National Historic Landmark. The grounds include 12 ponds and stunning examples of Gothic Revival architecture.
For the final photo, I wanted to share a photo of a cemetery I got to see last week at PastForward -- Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. Located on the site of the former Bonaventure Plantation, operations as Evergreen Cemetery Company began in 1868, and it 1907 the City of Savannah purchased the cemetery, making it public and changing the name to Bonaventure Cemetery. The cemetery became famous when it was featured in the novel (and subsequent movie) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.