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Grove Street Cemetery

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Title: Grove Street Cemetery  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Henry Austin (architect), Andrew Hull Foote, Alfred Terry, Pierpont Edwards, Noah Webster
Collection: 1796 Establishments in Connecticut, 1796 Establishments in the United States, Buildings and Structures in New Haven, Connecticut, Cemeteries in New Haven County, Connecticut, Cemeteries on the National Register of Historic Places in Connecticut, Egyptian Revival Architecture in the United States, Geography of New Haven, Connecticut, Gothic Revival Architecture in Connecticut, National Historic Landmarks in Connecticut, National Register of Historic Places in New Haven County, Connecticut, Visitor Attractions in New Haven, Connecticut
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Grove Street Cemetery

Grove Street Cemetery
The Egyptian Revival entry gateway
Grove Street Cemetery is located in Connecticut
Location 200 Grove St., New Haven, Connecticut
Area 18 acres (7.3 ha)
Built 1796
Architect Hezekiah Augur; Henry Austin
Architectural style Egyptian Revival, Gothic Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 97000830
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 8, 1997[1]
Designated NHL February 16, 2000[2]

Grove Street Cemetery or Grove Street Burial Ground in burial ground on the New Haven Green. The first private, nonprofit cemetery in the world, it was one of the earliest burial grounds to have a planned layout, with plots permanently owned by individual families, a structured arrangement of ornamental plantings, and paved and named streets and avenues. This was "a real turning point... a whole redefinition of how people viewed death and dying", according to historian Peter Dobkin Hall, with novel ideas like permanent memorials and the sanctity of the deceased body.[3] In part for this reason, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000.[4] Many notable Yale and New Haven luminaries are buried in the Grove Street Cemetery, including fourteen Yale presidents; nevertheless, it was not restricted to members of the upper class, and was open to all.[3]


  • History 1
    • Establishment (1796) 1.1
    • Gateway and fence construction (1845–49) 1.2
  • Historic Landmarking 2
  • Conflict over perimeter fence 3
  • Notable burials and memorials 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


Establishment (1796)

For the first 160 years of permanent settlement, New Haven residents buried their dead on the New Haven Green, the town's central open space and churchyard. In 1794–95, a yellow fever plague swept the town, prompting James Hillhouse, a businessman and U.S. Senator, to invite other prominent families in the town to establish a dedicated burial ground on farmland bordering the town.[5] In 1796, thirty-two families purchased a tract just north of Grove Street, the tract was enclosed by a wooden fence, which was prone to rotting and needed to be replaced frequently. At first consisting of 6 acres (0.024 km2), the cemetery was quickly subscribed and thereafter expanded to nearly 18 acres (0.073 km2).

Gravestones from the New Haven Green (but not the remains) were moved to the new cemetery for preservation in 1821 and are displayed against the walls of the cemetery.[3]

Gateway and fence construction (1845–49)

Completed in 1845, the entrance on Grove Street is a brownstone Egyptian Revival gateway, designed by New Haven architect Henry Austin, who is buried at the cemetery.[5] The style, popular in New England in that era, was chosen to reinforce the antiquity of the site.[6] The lintel of the gateway is inscribed "The Dead Shall Be Raised." The quotation is taken from 1 Corinthians 15.52: "For the trumpet will sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed." Supposedly, Yale President Arthur Twining Hadley said of the inscription,"They certainly will be, if Yale needs the property."[7]

In 1848–49, the perimeter of the cemetery was surrounded on three sides by an 8-foot (2.4 m) stone wall.

Historic Landmarking

The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.[1] It was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Secretary of the Interior in 2000, citing its history and the architectural significance of its gateway.[1][2][4]

Conflict over perimeter fence

In 2008, Yale announced plans to construct two new residential colleges to the immediate north of the cemetery. In 2009, university administrators and affiliates suggested to the cemetery Proprietors that an additional gate be constructed in the north section of the historic wall that surrounds the burial ground to permit pedestrians to walk through the cemetery from the main Yale campus to the planned new colleges. In addition, the Proprietors considered a proposal brought forward by one Proprietor that would replace portions of the stone sections of the wall bordering Prospect Street with iron fencing similar to that already running along the cemetery's southern border on Grove Street.[8] The proposal, withdrawn following a public meeting, included architectural and landscaping designs by Yale Architecture School Dean Robert A.M. Stern.[9]

Grove Street Cemetery is managed by Camco Cemetery Management.

Notable burials and memorials

Family plots from 1848–1850
Gravemarker of E. H. Trowbridge and Grace Allen Quincy Trowbridge
Monument to Glenn Miller, who formed the 418th Army Air Forces Band at Yale, and made New Haven his headquarters for concerts, parades and his radio show.
South side of Eli Whitney monument
  • James Kingsley (1778–1852)—professor of Hebrew, Greek and Ecclesiastical History at Yale.
  • John Gamble Kirkwood (1907–1959)—chemist.
  • Charlton Miner Lewis (1866–1923)—Yale professor and author.
  • Elias Loomis (1811–1889)—mathematician and astronomer.
  • Daniel Lyman (1718–1788)—Surveyor, Deputy to the General Court, Court Referee, Justice of the Peace and caretaker of the State's public records.
  • Samuel Mansfield (1717–1775)—first sheriff of New Haven
  • Othniel Charles Marsh (1831–1899)—paleontologist.
  • Henry Czar Merwin (1839–1863)—Civil War Union Army Officer killed at the Battle of Gettysburg
  • Glenn Miller (Alton G. Miller) cenotaph -- (1904–1944)—Jazz bandleader, trombonist.
  • Dr. Timothy Mix (1711–1779)—Colonial soldier who died on a British prison ship.
  • Jedidiah Morse (1761–1826)—clergy, "Father of American Geography". Father of Samuel F. B. Morse.
  • Theodore T. Munger (1830–1910)—clergyman.
North side of Eli Whitney monument
Grave of Noah Webster

See also


  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ a b "Grove Street Cemetery". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  3. ^ a b c "Grant, Steve (26 December 2008). "History Disinterred".  
  4. ^ a b Bruce Clouette (September 29, 1999), National Register of Historic Landmark Nomination: Grove Street Cemetery / New Haven City Burial Ground (pdf), National Park Service  and Accompanying 32 photos, from 1997 and undated PDF (32 KB)
  5. ^ a b Pinnell, Patrick (1999). The Campus Guide: Yale University. Princeton University Press. pp. 108–09. 
  6. ^ Giguere, Joy (2014). Characteristically American: Memorial Architecture, National Identity, and the Egyptian Revival. University of Tennessee Press. pp. 82–83.  
  7. ^ Taylor, Frances Grandy (23 September 2000). "Grove Street Cemetery At Yale Becomes U.S. Landmark Today". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Appell, Alan (7 October 2009). "Plot-holders Slam Cemetery Plan". New Haven Independent. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Appell, Alan (13 October 2009). "Cemetery Wall To Remain Undisturbed". New Haven Independent. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  10. ^ The Grove Street Bulletin, vol. 1, no. 4, 2005

Further reading

  • History of the City Burial Ground in New Haven, together with the names of the owners of the lots therein. New Haven: J.H. Benham. 1863. 
  • Townshend, Henry H (1947). The Grove Street Cemetery. New Haven: The Whaples-Bullis Company. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  • Osterwies, Rollin G (1953). Three Cemeteries of New Haven, 1638-1938. New Haven: Yale University Press. 

External links

  • Grove Street Cemetery home site
  • "Plot-holders Slam Cemetery Plan"New Haven Independent
  • "Architect pushes for changes at city cemetery"New Haven Register
  • Peter Dobkin Hall, "Setting, Landscape, Architecture, and the Creation of Civic Space in the United States, 1790-1920"
  • Findagrave
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