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RURAL CEMETERY

 The rural cemetery movement emerged in the United States during the 1830s as urban areas grappled with the public health concerns related to overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions. These challenges, combined with a sense of nostalgia for the quiet and beauty of the countryside, led to the establishment of so-called garden, or rural, cemeteries outside the cities. Mt. Auburn Cemetery was the first such cemetery to be established (1831) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Through the years it has stood as a model for the development of many cemeteries across the country.

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As the rural movement spread, cemeteries adopted the naturalistic winding paths, hills and wooded areas characteristic of European romantic landscapes. Later in the century, Frederick Law Olmstead’s urban park work also influenced cemetery planning. Cemeteries became places where city-dwellers could set aside the hectic pace of their lives, reflect on the beauty of nature and be inspired by the monuments and tombstones that were proudly produced by local craftsmen and artists.
 

Early Maple Grove

Maple Grove Grave Site

Most rural cemeteries were created through the purchase of large tracts of land by private citizens. Maple Grove Cemetery was established by a group of six Brooklyn businessmen in 1875 – late in the period of rural cemetery development. Under the leadership of William Cogswell, they purchased approximately 80 acres of undeveloped land in Jamaica Plain and Newtown from Mary A. Webb, in exchange for one half the proceeds from the sale of burial lots. The benefit to the newly formed Maple Grove Cemetery Association was that it would not have to raise funds ahead of time to purchase the land.

 Like other rural cemeteries, it took the Maple Grove Cemetery setting many years to develop. In its first year, a double row of trees, alternating maples and evergreens, was planted along Hoffman Boulevard (now Queens Boulevard) and in subsequent years, more trees were added in various sections of the cemetery. Winding roads were built, the lake was developed, and fences added. As early as 1879, Maple Grove Cemetery issued 300 maps to encourage public use of the property. As railroad patronage increased, the Cemetery Association distributed railroad tickets to try to attract visitors to the park-like cemetery.

   
For additional information call us at (718) 544-3600 or visit us.  We are located at 127-15 Kew Gardens Road , Kew Gardens , Queens , New York .

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