Greenbrier Receiving Tomb Built

December 6, 2011

A practical need in the early years of Mount Auburn was a receiving tomb for temporary deposit of remains that awaited shipment elsewhere or could not be buried during the cold winter.  The available tools would not have been able to dig a grave in the frozen ground.  The tomb on Greenbrier path was one of two receiving tombs owned by the Cemetery.  It was built in 1832 and is the oldest existing structure at Mount Auburn.

One of the downsides of a receiving tomb is that some remains were never reclaimed.  To prevent these abandonments, the Cemetery required a $20 deposit and set limits on the length of use of the tomb – two months from April through September and four months during the winter. 

Mount Auburn also owned a tomb under the Park Street Church in Boston but gave it up in 1861 once plans were underway to build a new and larger receiving tomb overlooking Auburn Lake.

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