In Photos: A Trip to Mount Auburn Cemetery

By Sophia C. Scott, Crimson Staff Writer
By Sophia C. Scott

Consecrated in 1831 as America’s first landscape cemetery, Mount Auburn Cemetery is a national historic landmark the burial site of many prominent figures — including Dorothea Dix, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Charles Sumner, Class of 1830.

Sunlight peeks through the towering trees of the cemetery.

Acacia Path leads from Spruce Avenue to Verbena Path.

Standing at 62 feet tall, Washington Tower offers a 360º-view of the grounds, along with the Boston and Cambridge city skylines. On a clear day, visitors can see not only Harvard’s campus and the Charles River but also the peak of Wachusett Mountain.

Caged windows line the spiral concrete stairway up the tower.

The Cambridge skyline — including Harvard Stadium, Annenberg Hall, and the Science and Engineering Complex — can be seen from atop the tower.

Lichen occupy a cement tombstone. Fertilizers and automotive exhaust can bring about nitrification of a lichen’s habitat in cemetery environments.

Rays of sun pierce the clouds over Greater Boston.

The Sphinx was commissioned by Bigelow, the founder and second president of the Cemetery, as a memorial for the lives lost from the Union and as a celebration of the end of slavery after the Civil War. The sphinx was selected because it was considered the “personification of intellect and physical force,” with its fusion of beauty and strength serving as the perfect emblem of a new America.

Built in the 1840s, Bigelow Chapel functions as a venue for funeral and memorial services, along with public programs at the Cemetery. The building was designed by Bigelow in the Gothic revival style.

Branches spiral upwards into the crisp autumn air.

Three tombstones for members of the 19th-century Reed family lie side-by-side beneath the sunlight.

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