Landscape

The centrality of the landscape to Mount Auburn transcends any single aspect of our mission and any value we hold true. Sustaining its character, beauty, and power remains one of our central purposes.

The Legacy and Promise of Mount Auburn’s Landscape

Mount Auburn was born of a vision for a cemetery in a natural landscape that would comfort and inspire visitors. The original embodiment of “garden cemetery” in America, Mount Auburn’s founding was intentional – an innovative purpose and design brought to life for the benefit of all.

Nearly two centuries later, the landscape of Mount Auburn Cemetery – plants, trees, water, topography, monuments, structures and habitats – remains both foundation and touchstone for everything we do. The ever-changing combination and layering of natural and manmade elements touch everyone who comes to the Cemetery.

Sustaining the character, beauty and power of this landscape remains one of Mount Auburn’s central purposes. We are trustees of this landscape for the benefit of future generations. Caring for the plants, trees, habitats, monuments and structures requires constant attention, significant resources, a very long-term perspective, and a willingness to experiment and adapt with evolving practices and a changing climate.

The centrality of the landscape to Mount Auburn transcends any single aspect of our mission and any single value we hold true. Our commitment to responsible and long-term stewardship of this legacy, and our vision for its inspired evolution, are essential to understanding our mission and values.

Landmarks

Washington Tower

Washington Tower

This 62-foot observation tower, constructed in the 1850s of Quincy granite, sits in the center of Mount Auburn’s landscape on its highest summit.

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Bigelow Chapel

Bigelow Chapel

This Gothic Revival chapel, originally constructed in the 1840s of Quincy granite, is an iconic feature in Mount Auburn’s historic landscape.

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Story Chapel and Administration Building

Story Chapel and Administration Building

This sandstone complex, designed in English Perpendicular style, sits just inside Mount Auburn’s Egyptian Revival Entrance.

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The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse

Mount Auburn’s Greenhouse, a 9,500 square-foot facility comprised of four adjoining glass-houses exemplifies sustainable greenhouse construction.

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The Egyptian Revival Gateway

The Egyptian Revival Gateway

In 1832, one year after its founding, Mount Auburn built its first structure, the Egyptian Revival Gateway. Upon completion, Mount Auburn’s Gateway immediately assumed special significance as the first fully created Egyptian Revival structure in the United States.

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The Sphinx

The Sphinx

Mount Auburn’s Civil War Memorial designed by founder, Jacob Bigelow and sculpted by Martin Milmore.

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Landscape Highlights

Halcyon Lake

Halcyon Lake

One of Mount Auburn’s four waterbodies, Halcyon Lake and its surrounding landscape reflect late 19th-century landscape design and cemetery development practices.

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Hazel Dell

Hazel Dell

This natural hollow, located just off of Central Avenue in the Cemetery’s entry precinct, reflects mid-19th century Cemetery development practices.

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Asa Gray Garden

Asa Gray Garden

Situated just inside the Cemetery’s Egyptian Revival Gateway, Asa Gray Garden serves as a focal point and gathering place for arriving visitors. Since the 1850s, this ornamental garden has evolved to reflect changing horticultural trends and landscape design styles.

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Consecration Dell

Consecration Dell

Hidden behind the steep slopes that enclose it, the Dell is a 4.2-acre natural valley with a small vernal pool in its center. In striking contrast to the Cemetery’s otherwise manicured landscape, the Dell is reminiscent of the New England forest. Native woodland trees, shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers provide year-round interest and provide essential food and shelter for resident and migratory wildlife.

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Willow Pond

Willow Pond

The development of Willow Pond in 1929 as a memorial park landscape reflected the changing needs of the 20th-century Americans: individual and family monuments are taken out of the visual landscape, the markers are flush with the ground, and the landscape is punctuated by beautiful trees and a scattering of shrubs, creating a park-like environment.

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Auburn Lake

Auburn Lake

This two-basin pond connected by a bridge and surrounded by hill-side mausolea was developed in the 1850’s and has been an integral site of cemetery development and wildlife habitat.

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