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Boston (Mass.). Cemetery Department


Historical note

By Chapter 375 of the Acts of 1897, the Mayor was authorized to appoint a board of five trustees, subject to confirmation by the Board of Aldermen, to have charge of Mount Hope Cemetery and all other burying grounds owned by or in charge of the City of Boston.

Mount Hope Cemetery was bought by the City in 1857 for $35,000 and additional land has been purchased since. It is situated on Walk Hill Street. The Board of Trustees was first appointed under the ordinance passed December 21, 1857.

All burying grounds which were formerly under the control of the Board of Health were transferred to the jurisdiction of the Cemetery Department. They included the following: Benington street, East Boston, 157,500 square feet. Bunker Hill, Charlestown, 48,202 square feet. Central, Boston Common, 60,693 square feet. Copp’s Hill, Charter and Hull streets, 89,015 square feet. Dorchester North, Upham’s Corner, 142,587 square feet. Dorchester South, Dorchester avenue, 95,462 square feet. Eliot, Washington and Eustis streets, 34,830 square feet. Evergreen, Commonwealth avenue, Brighton, 604,520 square feet. Fairview, Hyde Park, 50 acres. Granary, Tremont street, opposite Bromfield street, 82,063 square feet. Hawes, Emerson street, near L street, 11,232 square feet. King’s Chapel, Tremont street, near School street, 19,344 square feet. Market Street, Market street, Brighton, 18,072 square feet. Mount Hope, Walk Hill street, 117 acres and 36,536 square feet. Phipps Street, Charlestown, 76,740 square feet. Rainsford Island, 43,560 square feet. South End, Washington and East Concord streets, 64,570 square feet. Walter Street, Walter street, Roslindale, 35,100 square feet. Warren, Kearsarge avenue, Roxbury, 54,400 square feet. Westerly, Centre street, West Roxbury, 39,450 square feet.

In 1920, the Cemetery Department was merged with the Park Department, the latter title being substituted for Park and Recreation Department. On May 1, 1954, the department became the Parks and Recreation Department.

The Cemetery Division is responsible for providing burial services for City of Boston residents. The division manages burial records for over 250,000 gravesites and maintains approximately 200 acres of cemetery land. The three active cemeteries are Mount Hope Cemetery, Fairview Cemetery and Evergreen Cemetery.

Found in 6 Collections and/or Records:

Cemetery Department annual reports and publications

Identifier: 4410.001
Scope and Contents Includes copies of annual reports for the years 1900-1905, 1908-1910, 1912, 1914-1915; Reports on Intramural Internments, 1879 (City Documents 47, 96 and 110 of 1879); "Report of Special Committee of Common Council in Regard to South Burying-Ground on Washington Street", 1883; "Copy of Inscriptions upon the Granite Stones in the Kearsarge Avenue Cemetery, 1890; and "Historical Sketch and Matters Appertaining to the Copps Hill Burial-Ground", 1901. Annual reports can also be found in the City...

Cemetery Department correspondence

Identifier: 4410.004
Scope and Contents Four volumes of correspondence of the Cemetery Department.

Cemetery Division maps and plans

Identifier: 4410.002
Scope and Contents note This collection includes maps and plans from the Cemetery Division headquarters at Mt. Hope Cemetery. The maps and plans span the years circa 1899-1999. Many of the maps and plans are undated. The condition of many of the plans is poor because of previous storage and water damage. The collection has been divided into 4 series: Series I - Mt. Hope Cemetery, Series II - Evergreen Cemetery, Series III - Fairview Cemetery, and Series IV - Historic Burying Grounds. The Mt. Hope Cemetery...

Cemetery Division microfilm

Identifier: 4410.008
Scope and Contents note This series includes microfilm produced by the Cemetery Division between 1980-1981. Records filmed include interment cards, lot index cards and lot plan cards. The interment cards are filed alphabetically within each cemetery and may include name, lot #, location, proprietor, date of interment, age, date of death, place of death, cause of death and undertaker. The 19th century cards for Mt. Hope Cemetery and the Historic Burying Grounds do not provide cause of death. The cards for the Historic...

Historic Burying Grounds burial permits and orders

Identifier: 4414.001
Scope and Contents note This series contains the burial permit and orders of 13 of the Historic Burying Grounds from 1876-1948 with gaps. The burying grounds include Phipps Street, Dorchester North, Dorchester South, Bennington Street, Central, Copp's Hill, Granary, King's Chapel, Westerly, Eliot, South End, Walter Street, and Bunker Hill. The burial and permit records do not all have the same information because they do not all have the same origin. Each person buried was given a permit. However, the...