Daily What?! There’s a Quaker Cemetery in Prospect Park with 2000 Gravestones

In Prospect Park, off of Center Drive, there are two thousand gravestones and buried bodies older than the park itself in a cemetery owned by the Quakers.

Quaker NYQM cemetery Prospect Park Brooklyn-NYC New York-Untapped CitiesThe secluded 10-acre Quaker cemetery in Prospect Park. Source: New York Quarterly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

In Prospect Park, off of Center Drive, there are two thousand gravestones and buried bodies older than the park itself. This property, the only private one in the park, is a cemetery owned by the Religious Society of Friends, more commonly known as Quakers. The group bought and established the property, then consisting of undeveloped farmland, in 1849, but according to Atlas Obscura, burials on the land date as far back as the 1820s. The graves remained when the Prospect Park opened in 1867, and is still an active cemetery site.

Most gravestones in the cemetery are simple, somewhat eroded, and nearly identical. Apparently, this applies to the gravestone of Montgomery Clift, the critically-acclaimed star of “From Here to Eternity” who was buried there. In 1998, The New York Times reported that the cemetery was threatening to completely cease giving quarterly tours because of the high number of “people with purple hair and black T-shirts” who came to inquire about the confidential location of Clift’s gravestone.

We wouldn’t mind being laid to rest in one of the nicest parks in New York, but the cemetery is still only open to Quakers and their family members. It’s nearly impossible for non-Quakers to pay a visit even when living. The cemetery is surrounded by high fences topped by barbed wire to keep the Montgomery Clift-obsessed public out, as well as those who, according to extremely unsubstantiated rumors, used to practice devil worship or Santeria within the cemetery. (If these practices ever took place, they’ve moved slightly outside the cemetery, if the decapitated goat and dismembered chickens found in Prospect Park in recent years indicate anything). Extremely infrequent tours are given, and in 2008, Quakers performed a play among the tombstones to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Religious Society of Friends and educate the public about the group. Our advice for getting in: convert, or wait a short while for the group’s upcoming 200th anniversary in 2058.

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 Brooklyn, Prospect Park, Quakers

3 Responses
  1. Rita Bell Reply

    Thank you for the information on the Quaker Cemetery in Prospect Park. I used to ride past it every day when I stabled a horse at Culmitt Stables on Caton Place and East 8th Street. I was once told that Houdini was buried there. As I was riding past one day I shared this information with a fellow rider to which she replied “Yeah, I’d like to see him get out of this one.” I laughed so hard I thought I might fall off my horse. I’d very much like to take a tour and will call about it. Again, thank you for the information.

    By the way, do you have any information on the wife of Edwin Litchfield, the owner of Litchfield Mansion? The mansion is very interesting and has quite a history. I’d appreciate any help you can give me.

  2. bruce hubbard Reply

    hello, id like to know the hubbard history in the quaker cemrtery ,thank you. Bruce Hubbard 2477 stuart st bklyn ny 11229

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