Lowell Cemetery was chosen to be included on the National Register of Historic
Places in May of 1998.
The Lowell Cemetery was conceived by a group of prominent Lowell citizens in 1840 as a private,
non-sectarian, non-profit cemetery corporation. The Cemetery was dedicated on June 20, 1841, at a
time when there were no parks in Lowell, and it soon became a place of refuge for outdoor pleasures
such as strolling and bird watching amid shrubs and flowers close to the city.
A visit to the Cemetery today and an examination of the stones and tombs all evoke memories of
Lowell's past and the lives of some of its most prominent citizens and the part they played in the
development of their city, state and nation in war, as well as in peace. It is the memory of these
ancestors that makes the Cemetery a very special place to visit.
The Lowell Cemetery was modeled after Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, which was organized a
few years earlier as the first garden cemetery in America. These new cemeteries emphasized the
physical beauty of the surroundings and created a restful sanctuary for those contemplating the
departed, which was in sharp contrast to earlier burial grounds, crowded and unorganized,
sometimes dispassionate and severe.
To accomplish these ends, the Lowell corporators chose an eminent surveyor, George P.
Worcester, to design their chosen site with its natural setting of hillocks and trees. He
enhanced his work by designing curved roads and paths under a planned canopy of oaks, beeches
and ashes. As the Cemetery grew, some local citizens memorialized their dead with elaborate
carvings of stone, and the grounds became a depository of cemetery art. Many of these stones
are of elaborate design by local artists to be studied and admired. Some few are even carved
by internationally famous sculptors.
In 1885 a solid granite chapel was donated and erected by a benevolent lot owner in memory
of her husband. This physical structure is today regularly available for memorial services.
Majestic gateways into the Cemetery Park were also gifts by local benefactors and added
to the beauty of the site, now comprising 85 acres.
A Revised Edition of "Mourning Glory" - The Story of the Lowell Cemetery is now available
for purchase in the Lowell Cemetery office, The Lowell Historical Society office at the foot
of John Street in Lowell and Barnes and Noble on Merrimack Street. The publication describes
the origin and history of the Lowell Cemetery.
Published by the Lowell Historical Society.
Video Tape & DVD
Also available is a VHS Video Tape and DVD of many interesting sites and monuments with
Catherine Goodwin describing the history of the Lowell Cemetery. Catherine Goodwin is a
noted historian and an active member of the Lowell Historical Society.