After chatting about the "Monuments of Mount Auburn Cemetery" post with Meg Winslow, she offered this trove of information. Meg is the Curator of Historical Collections, Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge MA 02138-5517. She also informed me that The Mount Auburn Cemetery is currently the number one tourist destination in Cambridge on Trip Advisor.
The Nation’s First Rural Cemetery
- A National Historic Landmark founded in 1831.
- Designed by Henry A.S. Dearborn, Jacob Bigelow, & members of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
- The first designed landscape open to the public in North America.
- The model for the America’s rural cemetery movement, public parks, and suburbs.
- Open to all. Non-denominational and non-sectarian.
A Cultural Landscape
- Open 365 days of the year, free of charge.
- #1-ranked tourist destination in Cambridge on TripAdvisor.
- More than 200,000 visitors annually from around the world.
- A Visitors Center in Story Chapel is staffed by docents and offers maps and a wide array of interpretive materials.
- Over 75 unique programs annually including walking tours, talks, and special events; 150 annual group tours ranging from elementary to graduate students, garden clubs to community and historical associations.
- New free Mobile App for mobile phones provides interpretive and GPS directions to any lot location within the Cemetery.
Accredited Arboretum and Internationally-Renowned Botanical Garden
- First Cemetery in America to be accredited an arboretum
- 175 acres of landscaped hills and dells, 3 ponds, and 1 vernal pool.
- Nationally significant collection of woody and herbaceous plants. 5,000 trees (640 different species and cultivars), 13,000 shrubs and groundcovers (1362 taxa).
- Ecologically sustainable practices, the introduction of new plantings for the improvement of wildlife habitat, and the creation of garden spaces associated with the development of new burial space.
An Urban Wildlife Refuge
- Massachusetts Audubon Important Bird Area.
- One of the premier birding destinations in Massachusetts.
- Home to rare spotted salamander, amphibian reintroductions, apiary, and pollinator habitats.
Mount Auburn’s Historical Collections were researched by David Russo over a three year period
- The first of its kind in the nation, open by appointment.
- More than 3,000 linear feet of institutional records that chronicle the Cemetery from its founding to the present. Holdings include Archives, Library, Photographs, and Fine and Decorative Art. The collection actively grows through gifts and acquisitions.
- Researchers include historians, biographers, landscape designers, architects, filmmakers, and individuals with family buried at the Cemetery.
- Staff and volunteers respond to more than 150 genealogical requests per year.
As you see, David Russo's presentation about the Monuments of Mount Auburn Cemetery is an entry point to a parcel of Americana that's been going strong for 186 years.