Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, New York (Image via Flickr user Jamie Campbell)
The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Upstate New York is home to the plot of 19th century author Washington Irving and his family. The cemetery and adjoining church get a lot of foot traffic by tourists and fans of his most famous short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, first published in 1820, a ghost story that takes place in the church. The Cemetery management explains, “Grass has been worn away by countless visitors to the plot, retaining walls are crumbling, shrubs are ragged and dying after several hard winters, and numerous grave stones need to be reset.” They are accepting donations for the $5,000 required to restore the site. (more…)
Fourth and fifth graders in Bronx Public School 48 have uncovered a long forgotten chapter of Bronx history: a slave graveyard inside Joseph Rodman Drake Park, reports The Daily News. When Drake Park was originally created in 1909, an 18th century cemetery of wealthy slave owning families like the Tiffanys, Hunts and Leggets had been preserved. The students and their teacher, Justin Czarka, wondered where the accompanying slave graves might be, as the 1790 Census had already counted 156 Black and Indian slaves in Hunts Point.
New York City has its share of haunted spots, like Washington Square Park, a former burial site, the New Amsterdam Theatre, where the ghost of an actress has been rumored to roam, and the Morgan Library, where the librarian’s ghost supposedly brings books to visitors who ask for them out loud. No doubt the city’s haunted history inspired the works of one of its most famous residents, eighteenth-century writer Washington Irving. Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” immortalized a town of the same name in Westchester County. Now, just a short train ride away from Grand Central, ghost hunters can take nighttime “Murder & Mayhem” tours of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, one of the town’s creepiest sites, by lantern light. (more…)
Paris may be most famous for its catacombs, explored officially by tourists in some areas, illicitly by “cataphiles” in others, but did you know that catacombs exist all around the world, including in New York City? Originally the term “catacomb,” in its singular form, only applied to a group of underground tombs on Appian Way in Rome under the Basilica of St. Sebastian, where the bodies of apostles Peter and Paul were believed to have been interred. By 1705, the word was being used to describe subterranean cemeteries elsewhere, and by 1836, it also included the catacombs of Paris.
There are certain things every city needs; a hospital, a fire station, a local government, and a place to bury their dead. On a hot, dry August day in 1877, Mayor Frederick A. MacDougal of Los Angeles officially established Evergreen Memorial Park, in what is now known as Boyle Heights, as the first official and sanctioned cemetery in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles was still a rural, dry, brutal place in 1877. Only 27 years prior, as part of the Compromise of 1850, California was admitted into the United States as a free state, therefore stopping the expansion of slavery into the west. The Great California Gold Rush in the mid 1850s brought over 300,000 new settlers into the state. The influx of people coming to grab their share of gold and land led to a sort of lawlessness not just between settlers, but between settlers and the Native Americans who had called this land home for generations. Between 1850 and 1860, the California government paid nearly 1.5 million dollars to militias to “protect” their citizens from these Native Americans.
Woodlawn Cemetery is nearly half the size of Central Park, and has the population of a small city – of dead people. Located at the northern terminus of the #4 line, it offers miles of twisting, tree lined paths that wind over hills and through meadows, passing architecture by the likes of McKim Mead & White, Cass Gilbert and CarrÃ¨re and Hastings. These architectural monuments are the centerpieces of the landscape. One of the most magnificent in the cemetery is the Belmont Mausoleum, the final resting place of Alva Erskine and Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont.