Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven

4.4
#1 of 6 in Historic Sites in New Haven
Grove Street Cemetery or Grove Street Burial Ground in New Haven, Connecticut, is located adjacent to the Yale University campus. It was organized in 1796 as the New Haven Burying Ground and incorporated in October 1797 to replace the crowded burial ground on the New Haven Green. The first private, nonprofit cemetery in the world, it was one of the earliest burial grounds to have a planned layout, with plots permanently owned by individual families, a structured arrangement of ornamental plantings, and paved and named streets and avenues. This was "a real turning point... a whole redefinition of how people viewed death and dying", according to historian Peter Dobkin Hall, with novel ideas like permanent memorials and the sanctity of the deceased body. In part for this reason, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000. Many notable Yale and New Haven luminaries are buried in the Grove Street Cemetery, including fourteen Yale presidents; nevertheless, it was not restricted to members of the upper class, and was open to all.
Establishment (1796)For the first 160 years of permanent settlement, New Haven residents buried their dead on the New Haven Green, the town's central open space and churchyard. In 1794–95, a yellow fever plague swept the town. The increased demand for burial space prompted James Hillhouse, a businessman and U.S. Senator, to invite other prominent families in the town to establish a dedicated burial ground on farmland bordering the town. In 1796, thirty-two families purchased a tract just north of Grove Street, the tract was enclosed by a wooden fence, which was prone to rotting and needed to be replaced frequently. At first consisting of 6acre, the cemetery was quickly subscribed and thereafter expanded to nearly 18acre. Gravestones from the New Haven Green (but not the remains) were moved to the new cemetery for preservation in 1821 and are displayed against the walls of the cemetery.
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Grove Street Cemetery Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
74 reviews
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4.1
TripAdvisor
  • I had a fairly brief (45 minute) wander around this cemetery and cities have started a lot longer if it wasn't closing. There are some interesting 18th century headstones as well as lots of more recen...  more »
  • there are many interesting stones representing the diverse history of our country. colonial to today make it most interesting. a must to visit  more »
Google
  • Favorite cemetery (sounds odd, but it's true). Most of the tombstones reflect graves in the New Haven Green and are kind of memento mori rather than actual markers, but they are fascinating. Some record the place of death as New Haven Colony, which is awesome, because New Haven was its own colony before CT was. The style of the old tombstones is classic early colonial, with winged skulls atop. There's some heavy weathering and really interesting descriptions of the individuals and their lives (and deaths). The Egyptian Revival gate is classic New England. A gorgeous example of early American memorialization of the individual. Go in the fall when the leaves are changing.
  • A beautiful and quiet sanctuary to remember our forefathers. The burials are old and there are some historic names buried here. A nice place to walk through with a toddler on a Sunday to get away from the crowds and noise of campus.

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