By the early 1900s, metropolitan Boston’s demands for freshwater began exceed its supply, causing the state legislature to look for other sources of water to supply the metro’s population growth. A 1922 study endorsed the Swift River Valley (Quabbin area) as the best location for a new reservoir that could supply Massachusetts with fresh water, but there was one issue, there were towns and people living there. To create the Quabbin Reservoir, the depressed land would need to be flooded, this required over 80,000 acres of land to be purchased or seized by eminent domain by 1938. Four towns: Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were disincorporated and their excess land not flooded was added to surrounding municipalities. In total, an estimated 2,500 residents lost their homes as part of the flooding. Not all elements of the towns were destroyed, however. Town memorials and cemeteries in the four towns were moved to Quabbin Park Cemetery, in Ware, a short distance from the Quabbin Reservoir. Many other public buildings were moved intact to other locations (like those in Dorset, Vermont featured previously). In the over 80,000 acres that were flooded, the Commonwealth had to relocate an estimated 7,500 burials in over 35 cemeteries in these flooded towns. Bodies were removed from their respective locations, and intered in the new Quabbin Park Cemetery, built by the Commission in 1932 with grounds designed by landscape architect Arthur A. Shurcliff. An area for unknown graves and a memorial area at the entrance to the cemetery also contains public war monuments from the abandoned towns. This service building was added to the cemetery from designs by architect Frederick Kingsbury who died during its construction.
Woodlawn Cemetery Lodge // 1897
Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, MA was established in 1850 as a rural, private cemetery in the tradition of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. The story of Woodlawn Cemetery began in 1850 when a group of ten prominent Bostonians petitioned the Massachusetts General Court to organize a corporation “for the purpose of procuring, establishing and preparing a cemetery or burial place for the dead in Malden” (present-day Everett was established in 1870 from Malden). Adjacent to the Cemetery Gate and Tower (last post), the Woodlawn Cemetery Lodge replaced an 1850s lodge and office constructed of wood, in the Gothic-style, that was deemed unsatisfactory for later boards managing the cemetery. The group hired Boston architect William Hart Taylor to design the gate and lodge, the latter in the Classical Revival style. The buff brick building features terra-cotta trim and a red tile roof with dentil cornices and copper cresting along the ridges and eaves. The square entry tower has a columned belfry and incorporates additional Classically-inspired features including Ionic columns, moldings, swags, and wreaths, which looks like a Greek Temple plopped onto the top. Gorgeous!
Woodlawn Cemetery – Entrance Gate // 1897
Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, MA was established in 1850 as a rural, private cemetery in the tradition of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. The story of Woodlawn Cemetery began in 1850 when a group of ten prominent Bostonians petitioned the Massachusetts General Court to organize a corporation “for the purpose of procuring, establishing and preparing a cemetery or burial place for the dead in Malden” (present-day Everett was established in 1870 from Malden). When you approach the main entrance of the cemetery, you are greeted by the entrance gate and tower. Completed in 1897 to replace an earlier wooden gate, the Entrance Gate consists of a central stone tower and two side entrances. The gate, tower, and adjacent lodge (next post) were designed by Boston architect William Hart Taylor, who was buried at the cemetery upon his death in 1928. The tower has decorative sculpted terra cotta which includes winged angels at the corners with outstretched arms that once hold trumpets. Below the medallion which is centered on each side, there is the bust of a winged child, supposedly a carved likeness of the architect’s young son who died at the age of six and is buried at Woodlawn.
Touro Jewish Cemetery and Gate // 1677
Located just a short walk from the oldest extant Jewish synagogue in the United States, Touro Synagogue (last post), the Touro Jewish Cemetery and stately gate, showcase the significance and position Jewish residents held in Newport, going back to Colonial times. The earliest Jews in Newport arrived from Barbados, where a Jewish community had existed since the 1620s. They were of Spanish and Portuguese origin; their families had migrated from Amsterdam and London to Brazil and then to islands in the Caribbean. After the completion of the synagogue in 1763, the Jewish community in Newport realized the need to acquire land for a Jewish cemetery. Two of the original immigrants, Mordechai Campanal and Moses Pacheco purchased the lot at the corner of what is now Kay and Touro Streets for this purpose. In 1843, the cemetery funded the erection of a cemetery gate and fencing to surround the plot. They hired architect Isaiah Rogers to design the gate, which he took inspiration from his design at Boston’s Granary Burying Ground, completed just two years earlier. The Egyptian Revival gate is a very rare example of the style in the United States. On the granite gate, the torches turned to face downward are an acknowledgement of the ending of life’s flame.
Mount Hope Cemetery Chapel // 1908
Mount Hope Cemetery in Acton was laid out in 1848 as the third municipal burying ground for the town. Before that, there was a need for a cemetery between the West and South Acton villages, closer to the developing parts of town, without a cemetery of their own. The cemetery was laid out with paths following a grid pattern, with land tapering off towards the rear. The cemetery, used by many prominent families of Acton, was without a chapel for over 50 years until funds were donated by George C. Wright a wealthy resident who lived nearby (featured in the last post). Town officials proceeded to build a small building that was apparently was quite different from the vision that Mr. Wright had for the building, but Mr. Wright generously agreed to accept what had been done and presented it to the town. At the 1909 annual town meeting, the town formally acknowledged the gift. It saw some use as a chapel in the early days, but has since been used for storage and an office for groundskeeping.
Juniper Hill Cemetery Gate Lodge and Chapel // 1869 & 1913
As Bristol grew to be a dominant financial center in Rhode Island in the mid 19th century, prominent families there decided that their loved ones (and later themselves) needed a place of beauty to rest eternally. In 1855, descendants of Levi DeWolf, of the infamous slave-trading family, donated 22-acres of land for use as a cemetery. The old Levi DeWolf home remains fronting Hope Street, featured previously as the Reynolds-DeWolf House. It is a fine example of the mid-19th century rural cemetery movement, with winding lanes and paths. The landscape was designed by Niles Bierragaard Schubarth, who had done similar work at other Rhode Island cemeteries. Upon the opening of Juniper Hill, many families relocated their loved ones from other cemeteries in town here, so the families could be interred nearby each-other. The cemetery has three main structures; a gateway, the gate lodge, and a chapel/receiving tomb. The gate is a massive stone archway set at the entry to the cemetery, and was built in 1876 by the Smith Granite Company of Westerly, R.I. The Gate Lodge was built years earlier is located at the side of the entry into the grounds, and is a stone Victorian Gothic Revival building, designed by Providence architect Clifton A. Hall and constructed of granite quarried on the site during construction of the landscape. Yards away, the charming Amory Chapel and Receiving Tomb, built in 1913, is a 1-story stuccoed structure with a tile roof, designed by the firm of Angell & Swift of Providence. The small chapel stands out as it is a rare example of the Spanish Revival style, but has seen better days, and is apparently being used as a tool shed.
Samuel Jones House and Leg Grave //
Samuel Jones Jr. was born in Hillsboro in 1777. His family was among the first to settle in that town in the 1770s. Jones married Deborah Bradford in 1799, and the couple soon settled in Washington, New Hampshire that next year. Samuel ran a tavern out of the new family house which was built around that time. When he was 27 years old, Jones was helping a friend hoist and move a building on logs, when his leg became was caught and crushed by the building. His friends brought him to his house where he laid on a table awaiting a doctor. This occurred in the days prior to knowledge of anesthesia so his friends and neighbors treated him with whisky or rum. When the leg was removed they decided it should have a “proper burial” so it still rests with its marker in the old cemetery in Washington. Samuel survived the amputation and later moved to Boston, where he worked at the Customs House and later moved to New York where the rest of his body was buried upon his death in 1851.
Walnut Hills Cemetery // 1875
Walnut Hills Cemetery is located in South Brookline, and covers about 45 acres of rolling hills and mature trees. Paved and unpaved roads and paths wind through the cemetery, following the contours of the terrain. The cemetery is an example of the Rural Cemetery movement which began in 1831 in the United States at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Walnut Hills began in 1874, when the town of Brookline authorized the purchase of land for a new cemetery, as its Old Burying Ground was filling up, it was consecrated a year later. The town retained two landscape architects, Ernest Bowditch and Franklin Copeland, to oversee its layout. Just inside the entry gate, the superintendent’s cottage (1901), designed by Guy Lowell, and the receiving tomb (1901) to a design by Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, Jr. add much to the bucolic landscape. Of the number of notable burials in the cemetery, the most notable is likely Henry Hobson Richardson, one of the premier architects of the 19th century.
Forest Hills Cemetery Bell Tower // 1876
The bell tower at Forest Hills Cemetery is an octagonal Gothic revival structure located on Snowflake Hill just past the entrance gate and administration building and was completed in 1876. The 100-foot tower is constructed of Roxbury puddingstone and trimmed with granite. The roof is clad with granite tiles and topped with an ornate copper weathervane. Originally its swinging bell tolled, but it has since been replaced with an electronic carillon. The bell tower rises dramatically from massive
outcrop of Roxbury puddingstone known as Snowflake Hill which is offset by smooth lawns and Victorian planting beds. While the large trees surrounding partly obscure the tower, it truly is a stunning building.
Forest Hills Cemetery, Entrance Gate // 1865
Forest Hills Cemetery was founded in 1848 by Henry A. S. Dearborn, then mayor of Roxbury. He designed this magnificent cemetery to offer the citizens of his community a place to bury and remember friends and family in a tranquil and lovely setting. Forest Hills embodies the ideals of the rural cemetery movement, which begun at nearby Mount Auburn Cemetery, in Cambridge in 1831, which was co-founded by Dearborn. Many rural cemeteries have elaborate entrance gates, possibly serving as a dramatic transition from the secular world to the spiritual realm of the cemetery, and perhaps as a metaphor for the journey from life to death. This entrance gate was built in 1865, replacing an earlier Egyptian Revival gate constructed in 1848. Designed by Charles Panter, the gate is constructed of local Roxbury puddingstone, with three arched openings with ornate iron gates surmounted by decorative scrolled ironwork. The central gateway is
framed by two conical spires and a central stone pediment, all topped with stone crosses.