Visiting Old New England Graveyards: Part Two
Heere Lyeth ye Body of…..
With Halloween right around the corner, take time to stroll through an old cemetery or two! If you want to learn more about the old graveyards, visit my previously posted article: “How to Discover art in Old New England Graveyards” ( http://maplewoodpress.com/how-to-discover-art-in-old-new-england-graveyards/ )
There are many spooky cemeteries in New England, and some are not even outdoors!
When the city of New Haven, CT was young, they used the center of town as their burial ground starting in 1638. As time went by, it got a bit crowded so they decided to close it down in the early 1800s and open the Grove Street Cemetery. Did they move the bodies? Nope! Just the gravestones. They left several thousand bodies buried under what would become the new town green. They are still there. People walk over them everyday. Concerts and special events happen over them all the time.
Don’t believe me? The latest remains to “pop-up” were in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy knocked over a tree and exposed Colonial era human remains among its roots.
If you want to get a glimpse of what the old cemetery looked like, visit the Center Church on the Green which was founded in 1639. The 1812 version of the church was built over a portion of the burial ground and they preserved some of the graves and monuments. The basement crypt contains over a hundred identified remains, and close to 1000 that are unidentified. It is quite an interesting and odd little place, with some fine examples of early gravestone art.
For more information or how to visit: http://centerchurchonthegreen.org/history/crypt/
For more pictures of this historical site, visit our Facebook page; Maplewood Press