A New Landscape for Harvard Hill

June 23, 2015

The Harvard Corporation Lot (ca. 1830s) was created for burying students and professors at a time when transportation and burial technology did not allow for those who died far from home to be returned to their families.  Currently, Lot 330 is the final resting place for 62 Harvard-affiliated people.  Over time the lot has fallen into disrepair, so in 2014 Mount Auburn Cemetery in partnership with Harvard developed a plan to revitalize the lot’s landscape.

Harvard Hill is in the middle of Mount Auburn’s historic core and newly-emerging wildlife corridor, and will be integrated into other nearby landscapes restored over the past 20 years including the native plantings in Consecration Dell and Wildflower Meadow at Washington Tower.

Other goals of the project include improved pedestrian access to Harvard Hill, replacing turf with  low maintenance plantings, introducing a more ecologically sustainable landscape, and renewing the planting design in a naturalistic style, all in a way that fits the historic identity of the area.


December 2015
Phase one of the Harvard Hill  Project is now complete. Over the winter and spring we will evaluate several different surface options for Myrtle Path.

Phase two of this project will start in April with the planting of trees, shrubs, and groundcovers. Amaranth Path will be seeded and Myrtle path will be completed with whichever material is deemed most suitable.

November 2015
This fall work was started on regrading the Harvard lot and redefining the path encircling the lot. The Robert Hanss Inc. landscape construction firm is working to excavate and resculpt the path and service road from the Harvard Lot down to Palm Avenue, which is used for funeral access to Harvard Hill.  We are continuing to work with Harvard University and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates on the relandscaping plan, and planting will occur in spring 2016.

June 2015
In late June, we removed several mature trees, including a Norway Maple, Sugar Maple, Larch, Zelkova, and some declining Hemlocks. It was necessary to remove these trees to restore the original design intent for Harvard Hill and to re-grade Amaranth Path, which encircles the lot.


Mount Auburn Cemetery in partnership with Harvard University
Landscape design by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
For questions or concerns please contact: friends@mountauburn.org

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