Area North of Garden Pond Surveyed for Lots

August 19, 2015

“The tract of unoccupied ground in the front of the Cemetery, between Garden Pond [present day Halcyon Lake] and the road, constituting one of the most desirable parts of the Mount Auburn, is in the process of being surveyed, and the lots will be offered for sale early in the Spring.” (Annual Report – 1858)

Originally the northeast corner was going to be used as the experimental garden for the Massachusetts Horticulture Society.  “A portion of the land situated next to the road, and now under cultivation, is intended to constitute the Experimental Garden of the Horticultural Society. A long water-course extending between this tract and the interior woodland, forms a natural boundary, separating the two sections.” (Bigelow’s History 14-17). The garden lasted until 1835 when conflicts between its needs and those of the cemetery forced its closure.  Then the area north of Garden Pond was used primarily as a service area.  The Superintendent’s house and a barn were located there until the mid-1850s.

Garden Avenue was moved nearer to the fence in 1856 and trees were planted and the area was readied for development of additional burial land.  The lobes of Garden Pond were filled with gravel over several years which resulted in prime burial land in the northeast corner.  Map above: 1860 plan of newly developed lots.

Notable monuments in this area include: the Coppenhagen Lot with a marble angel by sculptor Martin Milmore, the graves of freedom seeker, abolitionist, and author Harriet Jacobs, and photographer James Wallace Black; and 20th century Cemetery developments Spruce Knoll and Nyssa Path.

The northeast corner of the Cemetery is the only parcel of the Cemetery that resides in Cambridge.

About the Author: Jessica Bussmann

Education & Volunteer Coordinator

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