June 23, 1831

Legislature Allows Establishment of Mount Auburn Cemetery

Greater Boston

On this day 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.

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