Central Burying Ground

I highly recommend a quick lunchtime field trip to the Central Burying Ground on the Boston Common. The entrance is located on Boylston Street directly across from Emerson College and next to the driveway to a stone park maintenance building. Until today, I didn’t know the cemetery was accessible – I had only seen the mysterious excavated and raised tomb mound – like something you would find along the Via Appia in Rome – when walking through the Common to/from the Park Square entrance. Evidently, I am not the only person who thinks you can’t visit the grounds. Except for an unusually large number of song birds and squirrels taking a break from the annoying humans that fill the Common on a sunny May day, I was the only visitor.

Some facts about the burial ground from the City of Boston website:

Dating from 1756, the Central Burying Ground is located on Boston Common on Bolyston Street near Tremont Street. It was established to alleviate overcrowding in King’s Chapel, Copp’s Hill, and the Granary Burying Ground. Bostonians considered this cemetery the least desirable because it was the furthest from the market center of town. The 1826 ordinance on the burying of the dead closed the burying ground, banning the opening or digging of new graves.  The ban was temporarily rescinded in 1836 when Mayor Armstrong’s administration cut off a corner off the cemetery to allow for the connection of Boylston and Tremont Streets. The large free-standing tomb construction – The Dell – along the west edge of the burying ground houses the remains of the graves disturbed by the street construction.

-Tim

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