History of Lowell Cemetery
The Lowell Cemetery was conceived by a group of prominent Lowell citizens in 1840 as a private, non-sectarian, non-profit cemetery corporation. It was modeled after Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts 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. This being in sharp contrast to earlier burial grounds, which were crowed 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.
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.
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 of these memorials 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 were also gifts by local benefactors and added to the beauty of the site, now comprising 85 acres.
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. Lowell Cemetery was chosen to be included on the National Register of Historic Places in May of 1998.