No. 13021 Entrance to Cedar Grove, 1885
For maps of Cedar Grove, copy and paste this link into your web browser
Robert Severy has produced a number of guides to sections of the cemetery, which are available at the cemetery office.
Cedar Grove Cemetery traces its origins to the public spirited citizens of the Town of Dorchester of the mid-nineteenth century. With a strong sense of community spirit – an attitude still characteristic of today’s Dorchesterite – town meeting members in 1858 established a committee “to procure a suitable lot of land for a cemetery.”This committee failed in its efforts, but a new committee was appointed on April 1, 1867. In barely more than a year this group found a thirty-acre parcel on the banks of the Neponset River, worked with the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to enact the required enabling legislation and then presented its recommendations to Dorchester’s town meeting on April 6, 1868. The recommendations were approved and the designated “Cemetery on Neponset River” came into being.Original landscape design and layout was completed by Luther Briggs, who was prominent in the field at that time. On January 19, 1869, the name Cedar Grove Cemetery was officially adopted, bearing witness to the clumps and groves of Cedar trees that thrived in the fields along the river. Its first superintendent was James Emery. By the end of 1869, nearly forty acres of land had been accumulated, bordering on Milton Street and Adams Street, and partly on Granite Avenue and the Neponset River. The first lot was sold on May 7, 1870.
In the year 1867, a rural cemetery was laid out by the town of Dorchester on Adams and Milton Streets, near the Lower Mills. It is designated as Cedar Grove Cemetery, and contains a little more than forty acres of land. It is under the control and management of a board of five commissioners under the authority of a special act of the legislature, approved by the governor on the sixteenth of March, 1868, granting powers similar to those under which Forest Hills and Mount Hope have become so attractive as burial-places of the dead. This cemetery affords a very considerable variety of surface and material, and presents extensive and delightful views of the neighboring country and Neponset River, which flows by its southerly borders. In the process of its improvement a good degree of success has been attained in preserving the distinctive natural beauties of the place, while turning them to useful account in the general purpose for which the grounds are designed. The original cost of the land was about twenty-five thousand dollars, and since the commencement of the enterprise further sums to the amount of thirty thousand dollars have been appropriated for improvements. By the provisions of the act above-mentioned, a portion of the grounds was set apart as a free public burial-place for the inhabitants of Dorchester, the remaining portions to be sold in lots, and the proceeds devoted exclusively to the preservation and embellishment of the cemetery. Provision is also made for the application of trust funds to special purposes, and for the care of particular lots. The grounds are laid out in accordance with designs by L. Briggs, Esq., under the direction of William Pope, Henry J. Nazro, Nathan Carruth, Henry L. Pierce and Albe C. Clark, commissioners.
In 2019 Wentworth University students researched links between Dorchester and the Civil War by looking at the burials at Cedar Grove. They produced a slide show that follows the trail of Union soldiers from the neighborhood who lost their lives, or were wounded, or were taken prisoner during the conflict.
To view their history project, copy and paste this link into your web browser.