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20 Historic Cemeteries of Greater Boston

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And when we type historic, we mean historic. The region is the final resting place of many, many notables, from John Adams and John Quincy Adams (and their cousin Samuel Adams, before he was resurrected as a beer brand) to Paul Revere and John Hancock to Cotton Mather and Henry James to countless veterans of wars stretching back to the Revolution and before (including British soldiers interred after fighting on behalf of the Old World empire). The cemeteries noted here are noted not only for the prestige of their occupants, but for their ages: You would be hard-pressed to find another region in the U.S. with so many burying sites stretching back nearly four centuries. Plus, the designs ain't bad, either, like the Sphinx in Cambridge's Mt. Auburn Cemetery, erected to honor Civil War dead.

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1. Bennington Street Cemetery

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This plot dating from 1838, one of the first planned open spaces of East Boston, has an unusually high number of epitaphs in foreign languages, thanks to the number of immigrants buried there.

2. Bunker Hill Burying Ground

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197 Bunker Hill Street
Charlestown, MA 02129

Burials may have started here as early as 1801, not even 20 years after the famous battle nearby. The official founding year is 1807, though.

3. Central Burying Ground

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Central Burying Ground
Boston, MA

Burials started here in 1754, and include those for British soldiers killed during the Revolution as well as painter Gilbert Stuart. There are also tombs housing remains disturbed during street and T construction.

4. Copp's Hill Burying Ground

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21 Hull Street
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 635-7389

This cemetery was laid out in 1659, though burials might have started more than 20 years before. The Mathers of ministerial fame are entombed here, as is Robert Newman, who placed the lanterns in Christ Church to warn Paul Revere.

5. Dorchester North Burying Ground

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Columbia Road & Stoughton Street
Boston, MA 02125

First laid out in 1634, it's Dorchester's oldest surviving landmark. It contains the remains, too, of as many as 40 unknown Revolutionary soldiers.

6. Dorchester South Burying Ground

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Gallivan Boulevard & Dorchester Avenue
Boston, MA 02124

Burials started here in 1814 to alleviate crowding at the Dorchester North Burying Ground.

7. Eliot Burying Ground

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Washington Street & Eustis Street
Boston, MA 02119

This is the oldest cemetery in Roxbury, with the first interment having been in 1633.

8. Granary Burial Ground

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120 Tremont Street, Suffolk University, Suffolk University Law School
Boston, MA 02108

This cemetery teems with early American notables, including John Hancock, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin's parents (notable for being Benjamin Franklin's parents), Samuel Adams, James Otis and five victims of the Boston Massacre.

9. Hawes/Union

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Emerson Street
Boston, MA 02127

This cemetery represents a combination of the Hawes Burying Ground, which dates from 1816, and the Union Cemetery, where burials started in 1845.

10. Kings Chapel Burying Ground

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58 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 635-4505

This is the granddaddy of Boston burial grounds, dating from 1630, and including such notables as John Winthrop, Massachusetts' first governor, and William Dawes, who rode with Paul Revere.

11. Market Street Burial Ground

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Market Street
Boston, MA 02135

The earliest burials in this cemetery in what was then known as "Little Cambridge" date from the 1760s.

12. Phipps Street Burial Ground

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This cemetery dates from the mid-17th century, around the time of the colonial settling of Charlestown.

13. South End Burying Ground

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Washington Street
Boston, MA

Dating from 1810, the gallows were located on the east end of this cemetery, prompting the myth that mostly pirates and other criminals were buried here. Who, exactly, is buried here, however, is difficult to determine as it was not a site for the fancy-stone-buying elite.

14. Walter Street Burying Ground

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125 Arborway
Boston, MA 02130

This cemetery dates from the second decade of the 1700s, and includes a single tomb for Revolutionary soldiers.

15. Westerly Burying Ground

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Centre Street & Mount Vernon Street
Boston, MA 02132

Established in 1683, this cemetery became the burial ground for the then-Town of West Roxbury.

16. Old Burying Ground

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The first grave here dates from 1653, and, because it was the only burying ground in Cambridge for about 200 years, it contains more than 1,200 resting places.

17. Mount Auburn Cemetery

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580 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 607-1980
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This cemetery includes more than 900 people who served during the Civil War. The big sphinx statue, in fact, is a memorial to those who died in the war.

18. Milk Row Cemetary

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Somerville Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143

This cemetery dating from 1804 is thought to include the oldest Civil War soldiers monument in the country, erected in the thick of the conflict, in 1863.

19. Old Burying Ground

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Walnut Street & Kennard Road
Brookline, MA 02445

The last interment in this cemetery dating from 1717 was as recently as 1995.

20. Hancock Cemetery

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1307 Hancock Street
Quincy, MA 02169

This was the original resting place of presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams (until they were moved across the street). It dates from 1640, and is named after the father of the Founding Father.

1. Bennington Street Cemetery

Boston, MA

This plot dating from 1838, one of the first planned open spaces of East Boston, has an unusually high number of epitaphs in foreign languages, thanks to the number of immigrants buried there.

2. Bunker Hill Burying Ground

197 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA 02129

Burials may have started here as early as 1801, not even 20 years after the famous battle nearby. The official founding year is 1807, though.

197 Bunker Hill Street
Charlestown, MA 02129

3. Central Burying Ground

Central Burying Ground, Boston, MA

Burials started here in 1754, and include those for British soldiers killed during the Revolution as well as painter Gilbert Stuart. There are also tombs housing remains disturbed during street and T construction.

Central Burying Ground
Boston, MA

4. Copp's Hill Burying Ground

21 Hull Street, Boston, MA 02113

This cemetery was laid out in 1659, though burials might have started more than 20 years before. The Mathers of ministerial fame are entombed here, as is Robert Newman, who placed the lanterns in Christ Church to warn Paul Revere.

21 Hull Street
Boston, MA 02113

5. Dorchester North Burying Ground

Columbia Road & Stoughton Street, Boston, MA 02125

First laid out in 1634, it's Dorchester's oldest surviving landmark. It contains the remains, too, of as many as 40 unknown Revolutionary soldiers.

Columbia Road & Stoughton Street
Boston, MA 02125

6. Dorchester South Burying Ground

Gallivan Boulevard & Dorchester Avenue, Boston, MA 02124

Burials started here in 1814 to alleviate crowding at the Dorchester North Burying Ground.

Gallivan Boulevard & Dorchester Avenue
Boston, MA 02124

7. Eliot Burying Ground

Washington Street & Eustis Street, Boston, MA 02119

This is the oldest cemetery in Roxbury, with the first interment having been in 1633.

Washington Street & Eustis Street
Boston, MA 02119

8. Granary Burial Ground

120 Tremont Street, Suffolk University, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, MA 02108

This cemetery teems with early American notables, including John Hancock, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin's parents (notable for being Benjamin Franklin's parents), Samuel Adams, James Otis and five victims of the Boston Massacre.

120 Tremont Street, Suffolk University, Suffolk University Law School
Boston, MA 02108

9. Hawes/Union

Emerson Street, Boston, MA 02127

This cemetery represents a combination of the Hawes Burying Ground, which dates from 1816, and the Union Cemetery, where burials started in 1845.

Emerson Street
Boston, MA 02127

10. Kings Chapel Burying Ground

58 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108

This is the granddaddy of Boston burial grounds, dating from 1630, and including such notables as John Winthrop, Massachusetts' first governor, and William Dawes, who rode with Paul Revere.

58 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108

11. Market Street Burial Ground

Market Street, Boston, MA 02135

The earliest burials in this cemetery in what was then known as "Little Cambridge" date from the 1760s.

Market Street
Boston, MA 02135

12. Phipps Street Burial Ground

Charlestown, MA 02129

This cemetery dates from the mid-17th century, around the time of the colonial settling of Charlestown.

13. South End Burying Ground

Washington Street, Boston, MA

Dating from 1810, the gallows were located on the east end of this cemetery, prompting the myth that mostly pirates and other criminals were buried here. Who, exactly, is buried here, however, is difficult to determine as it was not a site for the fancy-stone-buying elite.

Washington Street
Boston, MA

14. Walter Street Burying Ground

125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130

This cemetery dates from the second decade of the 1700s, and includes a single tomb for Revolutionary soldiers.

125 Arborway
Boston, MA 02130

15. Westerly Burying Ground

Centre Street & Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02132

Established in 1683, this cemetery became the burial ground for the then-Town of West Roxbury.

Centre Street & Mount Vernon Street
Boston, MA 02132

16. Old Burying Ground

Cambridge, MA 02138

The first grave here dates from 1653, and, because it was the only burying ground in Cambridge for about 200 years, it contains more than 1,200 resting places.

17. Mount Auburn Cemetery

580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

This cemetery includes more than 900 people who served during the Civil War. The big sphinx statue, in fact, is a memorial to those who died in the war.

580 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

18. Milk Row Cemetary

Somerville Avenue, Somerville, MA 02143

This cemetery dating from 1804 is thought to include the oldest Civil War soldiers monument in the country, erected in the thick of the conflict, in 1863.

Somerville Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143

19. Old Burying Ground

Walnut Street & Kennard Road, Brookline, MA 02445

The last interment in this cemetery dating from 1717 was as recently as 1995.

Walnut Street & Kennard Road
Brookline, MA 02445

20. Hancock Cemetery

1307 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA 02169

This was the original resting place of presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams (until they were moved across the street). It dates from 1640, and is named after the father of the Founding Father.

1307 Hancock Street
Quincy, MA 02169