Reception House Built

November 18, 2012

Reception House, 583 Mount Auburn Street
1870 Nathaniel J. Bradlee, architect
Extant with modifications

The reception house was built in 1870 directly across from the main gate as part of a growing concern for visitor comfort in the mid-nineteenth century.  It featured a room where visitors could rest and wait for trolleys, and for a time there was even a refreshment concession.  It also housed the superintendent’s office from the early 1870s until the administration building was completed in 1897.  After that, the property was leased for a number of years until it was sold around 1928.  The exterior retains a high degree of integrity, even though it has not been owned by the Cemetery for a number of years.

Today it is a privately owned memorial supplier, “Mt. Auburn Memorials,” which is part of W.C. Caniff & Sons (Roslindale, MA).

Mt. Auburn Memorials, 2011

This text is modified from the Master Plan: Volume II – Historic Landscape Report, prepared by Shary Page Berg, Cambridge, MA, in Collaboration with The Halvorson Company, Inc., Boston, MA. 1993.


  1. This is fantastic- learning more about the landscape surrounding Mt Auburn in the 19th c. Might MAC consider putting together an exhibit of 19th c. landscape photos of MAC and the area immediately surrounding MAC, so that people could experience what a 19th c. MAC visitor would have seen, arriving at and exiting the grounds?

  2. Charles Sullivan says:

    Nice report on a very significant building! The Cambridge Historical Commission has protected the Reception House as a Landmark since 2003.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.