Graveyards of Boston

Back home and relishing in my apartment. My couch. My bed. I love travelling, but sometimes the best part of any trip is stumbling back into my home after a week and flinging myself onto my couch and the mountains of decorative pillows waiting for me.

There’s no place like home, I’m telling you.

After plugging in my cameras and settling in a bit this morning after a giant mug of coffee, I’ve pulled a few images from the cemeteries I visited on my trip. Sure, I saw other stuff while in Boston, but there’s something very special about cemeteries — the older the better, usually. I love looking at the art, the sculpture, the carving. I love how in every place of the world, cultures find different ways of commemorating people’s lives.

Graveyards of Boston

Boston is particularly special because it’s one of the oldest cities in the United States, and since it was founded by Puritans, the iconography found on tombstones is very particular. You see a lot of death’s heads (winged skulls), cherubs, and flying sandglasses. “Tempus Fugit” means “time is fleeting” in Latin, translated literally as “time flies” in certain cases.

You also find a lot of sombre contemplation amongst the smiling skulls: the inscription “Memento Mori” appears quite often, reminding the person standing at the grave to “remember their death.” It comes for us all.

Granary Burial Ground

Granary is the third oldest cemetery in Boston. Founded in 1660, it’s the final resting place of three signers of the declaration of independence (Sam Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine), Paul Revere, and Benjamin Franklin’s parents.

It’s the only place in Boston where, across the street, you can enjoy a cold Sam Adams at the Beantown Pub, while sitting across from a cold Sam Adams.


Central Burial Ground

Central Burying Ground was established on the Common in 1756. There are quite a few unmarked graves in the cemetery, because many of the residents were reinterred here after unearthing a mass grave at the Tremont Subway in the 1890’s. A few notable occupants include William Billings and Charles Sprague.

There’s a little girl who haunts the cemetery. She’s presumed to be an Irish immigrant because of her flame red hair, and she likes to nick people’s keys and float them in front of their faces. (Not speaking from personal experience, of course. Just a cute mention from the Haunted Boston tour.)


King’s Chapel Burial Ground

King’s Chapel is the oldest cemetery in Boston, dating to 1630. It’s abuts the (you guessed it) King’s Chapel, which was originally named “Stone Chapel.” The cemetery was Boston’s only burial site for thirty years before accommodations became too crowded and Copp’s Hill was founded.

There’s a really curious feature in the frontmost right-hand site of the cemetery. I stuck my face up to the wrought iron and took a peek into gauzy blackness so musty and terrifying for a moment I wondered why anyone would put a well in a cemetery. It turns out that the structure in question is actually a ventilation shaft for a nearby subway, but it still creeped me out.

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