Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn Connecting the Present with the Past - Page 4

Connecting the Present With The Past By Gus Fraser Vice President of Preservation & Facilities I n September 1830, Zebedee Cook, Jr., lauded the benefits of creating a cemetery near Boston, on the model of Père Lachaise in Paris, “where the hand of the designer and horticulturalist would adorn the solemn paths and avenues displaying monuments to the dead.” Such a cemetery of substantial monuments, observed landscape designer Henry A. S. Dearborn, would assure that “the great deeds” of civic leaders “might be perpetuated and their memories cherished by succeeding generations.” The sentiments of these two early supporters of Mount Auburn capture at once the enthusiasm for a designed landscape that can move and inspire, and the desire to record the history of the young nation and its 2 citizens in commemorative art and sculpture. Nature and art, reflecting the present through the work of the horticulturalist and the sculptor, combined to create a picturesque landscape of beauty that would endure for generations to come. Mount Auburn has remained true to the vision of its founders as each successive generation has shaped the landscape and placed monuments that reveal changing tastes in cemetery, garden, and memorial design. The result is a layered history that can be read in the layout of the roads and paths, in the plants and trees, and in the ornamentation of the monuments. The changing monuments, and the stories they tell, trace the history of the country through war, industrialization, urbanization, and immigration. Preserving that history is critical to maintaining our Cemetery as