Northwest Corner Developed

December 7, 2011

In the early 1870s the Cemetery acquired several parcels on its northwestern edge known as the Chant and Watriss properties. Up to this time the Cemetery’s edge lay at present day Excelsior Path. The Watriss property was purchased from the Catholic Church in 1870 and the Chant property in 1873. These were intended for cemetery expansion and to alleviate drainage problems in the area. The Chant property was raised an average of three to four feet, and in some places up to six feet, with fill material brought from the Stone Farm area of the Cemetery.  Based on the success of Stone Farm, Mount Auburn Superintendent James W. Lovering and his assistants laid out these areas based on the Landscape Lawn style as well, completed in 1884.

The Landscape Lawn style was developed by Adolph Strauch, Superintendent of Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, who wanted to eliminate the clutter of fences, monuments, landscape furnishings, and elaborate plantings in favor of a more open, unified landscape with a few artful monuments. Mount Auburn’s adaptation of the style was described as “grassy, lawns ornamented with flowers and shade trees; where the monuments are not obtrusive, the boundaries of the lots only marked by sunken posts; and where from the absence of stonework and iron fences, a general aspect of rural beauty, and quiet is the characteristic feature” (Annual Report 1875).

The roads, which included Vesper and Glen Avenues (a departure from the earlier use of primarily plant names), were less geometric than those at Stone Farm and more in keeping with those of the older areas, largely due to the more varied topography. The Vesper lot, a new public lot, was also included in this area, indicating that this was a continuing need. The greatest differences between older areas and those laid out in the 1880s are the absence of fences and curbs, far greater density of lots, and more uniform monuments.

In the 20th and 21st centuries additional lots were purchased to provide railroad access and to build service and preservation buildings.

Adapted from Mount Auburn Cemetery Master Plan, Volume II by Shary Page Berg.

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