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Cedar Hill: A Cemetery And A Park

Historical Hartford cemetery used by the living once more

Hartford Courant editorial

September 09, 2010

In the 19th century, Americans began to see cemeteries as resting places not only for the dead, but also for the living. The rural cemetery movement saw the creation of peaceful, park-like burial places in which the living could takes walks or carriage rides, have picnics or meditate on life's mysteries. Hartford's Cedar Hill Cemetery, a 270-acre greensward that dates from 1863, is one of the finest examples of this bucolic genre.

Cedar Hill has lakes, woods and wildlife, plus architecture and monuments by some of the best designers of the period. Hartfordites did come and enjoy the sylvan surroundings, but by the mid-20th century, interest the cemetery began to wane, and over time many forgot it was there.

Four years ago, the Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation determined to rekindle public awareness and enjoyment of the cemetery. Since then, foundation director Wendi Fralick has put the lovely grounds back on the map with an excellent series of programs, ranging from sťances and lantern tours to historical programs and tours of the cemetery's notable trees, led by the redoubtable Ed Richardson.

The cemetery's third annual Scavenger Hunt on Sept. 18 will be filmed for a segment on ABC's "Nightline" on events that cemeteries sponsor to attract visitors.

The important thing is that Hartford folks are back in Cedar Hill again, jogging, biking, walking, bird watching, painting or just taking the air, and that the cemetery has resumed its place as a major cultural site in the city.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
     
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