Field Trip :: Mount Auburn Cemetery


Image: Rand Lemley
By Rand Lemley, BArch Candidate

If you walk about forty-five minutes west down Mount Auburn Street from Harvard Square, you would reach America's first garden cemetery. The Egyptian Revival entrance to Mount Auburn Cemetery is only the beginning of a wonderful collection of peculiar monuments that await inside. Started in 1831, this 170-acre cemetery contains the graves of such notable persons as Winslow Homer, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Charles Bulfinch, and Buckminster Fuller.

Image: Rand Lemley
The paths that wind across the landscaped hills of the cemetery are lined with over 600 species of trees. Variety was desired to compose this cemetery park in a picturesque manner, similar to the fabricated landscape of Olmsted's Central Park. Hidden coves lurk around each bend and the scattered ponds offer a place for repose.

Image: Rand Lemley
In the middle of the cemetery stands the monumental Washington Tower. Upon scaling the tower, visitors receive one of the best panoramic views of the city, an opportunity that cannot be passed up. The view is even better in mid-spring or fall. The flowering or color-turning trees light up the landscape in a very moving way.

Image: Rand Lemley
The walk -- or bus ride -- to Mount Auburn Cemetery takes visitors through historic neighborhoods where homes belonging to some of the founding members of America can be found. And while you are out in west Cambridge, be sure to walk a block farther to Sofra. With a distinct Mediterranean character, it is perhaps the best pastry shop in Greater Boston.

Mount Auburn Cemetery
580 Mt Auburn St
Cambridge, MA 02138
www.mountauburn.org