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Forest Hills Cemetery entrance

Forest Hills Cemetery in the Forest Hills area of Jamaica Plain, Massachusettsmarker (a primarily residential section of Bostonmarker) is a historic cemetery, greenspace, arboretum and sculpture garden. Designed in 1848, it is one of the finest examples of rural cemetery in the United States.


Besides being a site for visitors to enjoy, Forest Hills Cemetery is a still an active burial ground. The distinctive Victorian landscape design features meandering paths, scenic vistas, and a pond called Lake Hibiscus. Many prominent historic and cultural figures are buried here, including inventors, entrepreneurs, civic leaders, authors, artists, and social activists.

The cemetery has a number of interesting or impressive monuments, including some by famous sculptors. Among these are Daniel Chester French's Death Staying the Hand of the Sculptor.


On March 28, 1848, Roxbury City Council (the municipal board in charge of the area at that time) gave an order for the purchase of the farms of the Seaverns family to establish a rural municipal park cemetery. In the same year another 14½ acres were purchased from John Parkinson. This made for a little more than at a cost of $27,894. The area was later increased to .

Inspired by the Mount Auburn Cemeterymarker, Forest Hills Cemetery was designed by Alexander Dearborn to provide a park-like setting to bury and remember family and friends.

Modern history and use

Educational Trust

Recognizing the importance of Forest Hills as both a national treasure and neighborhood resource, the Trustees of Forest Hills Cemetery created the Forest Hills Educational Trust in 1991. A non-profit organization, the Trust raises funds for educational programs, preservation projects, contemporary sculpture exhibitions, and community events. With the help of the trust, Forest Hills Cemetery was admitted to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

Visiting the Cemetery

The Cemetery Office by the Morton Street entrance furnishes a map for free that features the locations of the graves of some of the famous people buried in the cemetery, some local and others who happened to die in Boston after finding fame elsewhere. An outdoor copy is also posted just inside the main gate for weekend visitors. The cemetery is open to all during the hours of daylight for rambling along pavements and paths named for the flora of the world.

Guided tours are also available. Garden of Memories, a guidebook by Susan Wilson, contains five self-guided tours exploring different neighborhoods of the Cemetery and can be purchased at the main office or ordered by mail.

The Sculpture Path

Visitors can also view an exhibition organized by the Trust. Twenty-four works of contemporary sculpture have been installed on the grounds for a one year exhibition. Brochures with a map and artists statements are available at the map stand by the main entrance.

The Lantern Festival

Once a year, Forest Hills hosts the Lantern Festival, a community event attended by 3,000 people in 2000. Inspired by Buddhist traditions, this non-denominational ceremony offers a way to remember family and friends. After enjoying a program of music and dance, people inscribe the paper shades of simple wooden lanterns with greetings. At dusk, the lanterns are lit and floated across Lake Hibiscus.

Notable persons interred at Forest Hills

See also


External links

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