When people talk about “the Dell” at Mount Auburn Cemetery, images of a hidden oasis filled with beauty and life that is located in the heart of the Cemetery immediately come to mind. However, can you imagine there being another “dell” that visitors of the past often strolled by? Incredibly, there was! Tucked away between Indian Ridge Path, Central Avenue and Linden Path, Hazel Dell was a small, yet picturesque vernal pool. It was a popular place for Victorian visitors to take a relaxing walk.
In 1859, a row of sidehill tombs were built in the deep hollow. These tombs, with their perfectly manicured gardens, helped complete the little valley. In 1861, a small jet fountain was added to Hazel Dell, as well as to other other bodies of water within the Cemetery; some of these fountains could throw water up to one hundred feet in the air! A redesign of Hazel Dell was completed in 1936 as part of the Cemetery’s efforts to improve ornamental spaces. Hazel Dell was eventually removed from the steep valley during the early half of the 20th century, partly due to complaints about its “swampy nature” and haven as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Though the body of water is gone, Hazel Dell is still a gorgeous nook that is the perfect place for some quiet meditation or to read a book on a bench.