Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
The historical Mount Auburn Cemetery is the first rural cemetery in the United States, located on the line between Cambridge and Watertown in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 4 miles west of Boston.
With classical monuments set in a rolling landscaped terrain, it marked a distinct break with Colonial-era burying grounds and church-affiliated graveyards. The appearance of this type of landscape coincides with the rising popularity of the term “cemetery”, derived from the Greek for “a sleeping place.” This language and outlook eclipsed the previous harsh view of death and the afterlife embodied by old graveyards and church burial plots.
The 174-acre (70 ha) cemetery is important both for its historical aspects and for its role as an arboretum. It is Watertown’s largest contiguous open space and extends into Cambridge to the east, adjacent to the Cambridge City Cemetery and Sand Banks Cemetery. It was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2003 for its pioneering role in 19th-century cemetery development.
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