Green River Cemetery

Founding of Green River Cemetery

Green River Cemetery was consecrated in 1851 and was modeled after the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1851, Greenfield's most prominent citizens formed the non-profit Green River Cemetery and set out to secure suitable land for its first rural cemetery. The site chosen parallels features of Mount Auburn; elevated above the river, with views to the town center. A natural forest blanketed the site and trees were cleared from the undulating terrain presumably on the northeastern hillside to afford a vista to the town below. Curving roads and paths named for horticultural and woodland features were designed and laid out by surveyor Albert R. Field.

The consecration ceremony was held in early October 1851. The ceremony, an important event in the history of Greenfield, was accompanied by the biggest procession the city had ever seen, with a band and odes composed for the occasion. The event reflected the town's appreciation of the picturesque landscape and a growing optimism for the future of its nation's culture.

Damman, D. Alex and Hayes, Cynthia. 'Master Plan for Green River Cemetery'. Conway School of Landscape Design, 1995.