Rural Cemetery (Worcester, Massachusetts)

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Column at the grave of George B. Boomer, Rural Cemetery in Worcester, Massachusetts

Rural Cemetery is located on 180 Grove Street in Worcester, Massachusetts.[1] More than 13,000 people are buried at the cemetery, including congressmen, mayors, governors, and professional people.[2]


The cemetery was incorporated in 1838 on the quiet outskirts of town, at the suggestion of Edward D. Bangs in 1837 to serve as the town's cemetery, the older cemeteries having been neglected, overpopulated, or trampled by livestock. David Waldo donated rolling, treed land he purchased for $1400 in September 1837. It was located on the road leading to Holden from Worcester, which was previously owned by Judge Timothy Paine. The state legislature passed the bill and signed by Governor Edward Everett to incorporate the "Proprietors of Rural Cemetery in Worcester". A portion of the land was set aside for a garden and the design included shrubs, trees and "other rural ornaments".[3]

A key goal in the founding of the rural cemetery was to create an ongoing memorial to the people who had passed[4] in the trend established by "America's first garden cemetery" or "rural cemetery", Mount Auburn Cemetery which was founded in Massachusetts in 1831 with classical monuments set in a rolling landscaped terrain.[5]

It has been the care of all ages of the world, and of all nations of men, to mark with tokens of affection and respect, the disposition of the remains of the dead.

— Levi Lincoln, Massachusetts Governor at the dedication ceremony.[4]

By the 1860s rural cemeteries could be found on the outskirts of cities and smaller towns across the country.[6]

It was originally situated on 24 acres, and is now 40 acres in area.[7]

Notable interments[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Home. Rural Cemetery. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  2. ^ Mildred McClary Tymeson. Rural retrospect: a parallel history of Worcester and its Rural Cemetery. Worcester: Albert W. Rice. 1956. pp. ix-x.
  3. ^ Mildred McClary Tymeson. Rural retrospect: a parallel history of Worcester and its Rural Cemetery. Worcester: Albert W. Rice. 1956. pp. 28-33.
  4. ^ a b Mark S. Schantz. Awaiting the Heavenly Country: The Civil War and America's Culture of Death. Cornell University Press; 20 September 2013. ISBN 0-8014-5801-3. p. 77.
  5. ^ Bainbridge Bunting and Robert H. Nylander. Old Cambridge. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cambridge Historical Commission. 1973. ISBN 0-262-53014-7. p. 69.
  6. ^ Marilyn Yalom (2008), The American Resting Place: Four Hundred Years of History Through Our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN 0-618-62427-9, ISBN 978-0-618-62427-0, page 46
  7. ^ Blanche M. G. Linden. Silent City on a Hill: Picturesque Landscapes of Memory and Boston's Mount Auburn Cemetery. Univ of Massachusetts Press; 2007. ISBN 1-55849-571-1. p. 293.

Further reading[edit]

  • Levi Lincoln. An address delivered on the consecration of the Worcester Rural Cemetery, Sept. 8, 1838 / by Levi Lincoln. Dutton and Wentworth, printers; 1838.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°16′51.29″N 71°48′7.08″W / 42.2809139°N 71.8019667°W / 42.2809139; -71.8019667