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Grove Street Cemetery

Coordinates: 41°18′49″N 72°55′39″W / 41.31361°N 72.92750°W / 41.31361; -72.92750
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Grove Street Cemetery
The Egyptian Revival entrance gate
Grove Street Cemetery is located in Connecticut
Grove Street Cemetery
Grove Street Cemetery is located in the United States
Grove Street Cemetery
Location200 Grove St., New Haven, Connecticut
Coordinates41°18′49″N 72°55′39″W / 41.31361°N 72.92750°W / 41.31361; -72.92750
Area18 acres (7.3 ha)
ArchitectHezekiah Augur; Henry Austin
Architectural styleEgyptian Revival, Gothic Revival
NRHP reference No.97000830
Significant dates
Added to NRHPAugust 8, 1997[1]
Designated NHLDFebruary 16, 2000[2]

Grove Street Cemetery or Grove Street Burial Ground is a cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut, that is surrounded by the Yale University campus. It was organized in 1796 as the New Haven Burying Ground and incorporated in October 1797 to replace the crowded 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. By introducing ideas like permanent memorials and the sanctity of the deceased body, the cemetery became "a real turning point... a whole redefinition of how people viewed death and dying", according to historian Peter Dobkin Hall.[3] Many notable Yale and New Haven luminaries are buried in the Grove Street Cemetery, including 14 Yale presidents; nevertheless, it was not restricted to members of the upper class, and was open to all.[3]

In 2000, Grove Street Cemetery was designated a National Historic Landmark.[4]

Today, it is managed by Camco Cemetery Management.


Establishment (1796)[edit]

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. The increased demand for burial space prompted 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).[citation needed]

In 1821, the monuments on the green were removed to the Grove Street Cemetery.[6]

Gateway and fence construction (1845–49)[edit]

Completed in 1845, the entrance on Grove Street is a brownstone Egyptian Revival gateway, designed by the New Haven architect Henry Austin with carving executed by sculptor Hezekiah Augur, both of whom are buried at the cemetery.[5] The style, popular in New England in that era, was chosen to reinforce the antiquity of the site.[7] 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."[8]

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

Historic landmark[edit]

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.[2][1][4]

Conflict over perimeter fence[edit]

In 2008, Yale announced plans to construct two new residential colleges just 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.[9] The proposal, withdrawn following a public meeting, included architectural and landscaping designs by Yale Architecture School Dean Robert A.M. Stern.[10]

Notable burials and memorials[edit]

Family plots from 1848 to 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
North side of Eli Whitney monument
Grave of Noah Webster

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Grove Street Cemetery". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Grant, Steve (December 26, 2008). "History Disinterred". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  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 (32 KB)
  5. ^ a b Pinnell, Patrick (1999). The Campus Guide: Yale University. Princeton University Press. pp. 108–09.
  6. ^ Blake, Henry Taylor, Chronicles of New Haven Green from 1638 to 1862: A Series of Papers Read Before the New Haven Colony Historical Society, Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Press, 1898, p. 28
  7. ^ Giguere, Joy (2014). Characteristically American: Memorial Architecture, National Identity, and the Egyptian Revival. University of Tennessee Press. pp. 82–83. ISBN 9781621900771. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  8. ^ Taylor, Frances Grandy (September 23, 2000). "Grove Street Cemetery At Yale Becomes U.S. Landmark Today". Hartford Courant. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  9. ^ Appell, Alan (October 7, 2009). "Plot-holders Slam Cemetery Plan". New Haven Independent. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  10. ^ Appell, Alan (October 13, 2009). "Cemetery Wall To Remain Undisturbed". New Haven Independent. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  11. ^ The Grove Street Bulletin, vol. 1, no. 4, 2005

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]