Friday, June 5, 2009

Postcard Collection Rural Cemetery at Poughkeepsie, New York

Began in 1853

"Rural Cemeteries" replaced church yards and family plots as the burial place of choice, and the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery was part of this revolution. Even though they were nearly always located near growing urban areas, these cemeteries were called "rural" because their carefully landscaped grounds embodied a respect for nature, and provided a respite from the chaotic bustle of the city.
The cemetery committee finally decided on a fifty-four acre parcel of land belonging to the estate of Supreme Court Justice Smith Thompson. This land forms the nucleus of the present cemetery.
The purchase of the land was made possible by sixty citizens of Poughkeepsie who invested $300 each and were given the option of either being paid back once the cemetery began to sell plots, or using the investment to pay for a family plot. The grounds were laid out by landscape architect Howard Daniels, and the opening ceremony took place on November 2, 1853. The Poughkeepsie Eagle newspaper described the opening ceremony in the following manner: "The day was uncommonly fine, the air salubrious, the ground dry, and all nature seemed to smile on the praiseworthy undertaking of our citizens in planning, laying out and decorating such a beautiful spot for a burial place."
At the website of the Rural Cemetery is a virtual walking tour and a video of what it looked like in 1938.
Information taken from

1 comment:

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I've visited many urban centers where almost the only green space was a cemetery, but I had never really given it much thought.
Thanks for giving me something to reflect on.
Evelyn in Montreal

A Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits