Green-Wood Cemetery

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Green-Wood Cemetery
The Chapel at Green-Wood Cemetery
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Coordinates: 40°39′08″N 73°59′28″W / 40.65222, -73.99111Coordinates: 40°39′08″N 73°59′28″W / 40.65222, -73.99111
Area: 478 acres (1.9 km²)
Built: 1838[1]
Architect: David Bates Douglass; Richard Upjohn & son (Richard M. Upjohn)
Governing body: Private cemetery
NRHP Reference#: 97000228
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: March 8, 1997[2]
Designated NHL: September 20, 2006[1]
Snowfall at GreenWood Cemetery

Entrance to Green-Wood Cemetery during a snow burst.

Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 as a rural cemetery in Brooklyn, Kings County [3], New York.[4] It was granted National Historic Landmark status in 2006 by the U.S. Department of the Interior.


Located in Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn, it lies several blocks southwest of Prospect Park, between Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, and Sunset Park. Paul Goldberger in The New York Times, wrote that it was said "it is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon the Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood".[5] Inspired by Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where a cemetery in a naturalistic park-like landscape in the English manner was first established, Green-Wood was able to take advantage of the varied topography provided by glacial moraines. Battle Hill, the highest point in Brooklyn, is on cemetery grounds, rising approximately 200 feet above sea level.

The cemetery was the idea of Henry Evelyn Pierrepont,[6] a Brooklyn social leader. It was a popular tourist attraction in the 1850s and was the place most famous New Yorkers who died during the second half of the nineteenth century were buried. It is still an operating cemetery with approximately 600,000 graves spread out over 478 acres (1.9 km²). The rolling hills and dales, several ponds and an on-site chapel provide an environment that still draws visitors. There are several famous monuments located there, including a statue of DeWitt Clinton and a Civil War Memorial. During the Civil War, Green-Wood Cemetery created the "Soldiers' Lot" for free veterans' burials.

The gates were designed by Richard Upjohn in Gothic Revival style. The main entrance to the cemetery was built in 1861 of Belleville brownstone. The sculptured groups depicting biblical scenes over the gateways are the work of John M. Moffitt. A Designated Landmarks of New York plaque was erected on it in 1958 by the New York Community Trust.

Several wooden shelters were also built, including one in a Gothic Revival style, one resembling an Italian villa, and another resembling a Swiss chalet.[7] A descendent colony of monk parakeets that are believed to have escaped their containers while in transit now nests in the spires of the gate, as well as other areas in Brooklyn.[8][9]

On December 5, 1876, the Brooklyn Theater Fire claimed the lives of at least 278 individuals, with some accounts reporting over 300 dead. Out of that total, 103 unidentified victims were interred in a common grave at Green-Wood Cemetery. An obelisk near the main entrance at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street marks the burial site. More than two dozen identified victims were interred individually in separate sections at the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn.

The cemetery was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006.[1]

In 1999, The Green-Wood Historic Fund, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institution, was created to continue preservation, beautification, educational programs and community outreach as the current "working cemetery" evolves into a Brooklyn cultural institution.

Chapel Edit

The chapel was completed in 1911. It was designed by the architectural firm of Warren and Wetmore, who also designed Grand Central Terminal, the Commodore Hotel, the Yale Club and many other buildings. The architecture of the chapel is a reduced version of Christopher Wren's Thomas Tower at Christ Church College in Oxford. The chapel was restored in 2001.

Notable burialsEdit


Graves at Green-Wood

Green-Wood Cemetery by David Shankbone

Vista from the Hillside Mausoleum


A few of the many mausoleums at Green-Wood

Further readingEdit

  • Jehemiah Cleveland, Green-Wood Cemetery: A History from 1838 to 1864 Anderson and Archer (1866)
  • The Ones Who Prepare the Ground for the Last Farewell, New York Times, Corey Killgannon, January 30, 2006
  • The Encyclopedia Of New York City (1995), ed. Kenneth T. Jackson; Green-Wood Cemetery, Edward F. Bergman, pp. 509–510
  • Jeffrey I. Richman, "Brooklyn's Green-wood Cemetery: New York's Buried Treasure" (1998)
  • Jeffrey I. Richman, "Final Camping Ground:Civil War Veterans at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery, In Their Own Words"
  • Alexandra Kathryn Mosca, "Green-Wood Cemetery (Images of America: New York)" (2008)


The Pierrepont papers deposited at the Brooklyn Historical Society contain material about the organizing of Green-Wood Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b c "Green-Wood Cemetery". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-14. "Green-Wood Cemetery, established in 1838, was the largest and most varied of the early American rural cemeteries. Its scale, diverse topography, and intended civic prominence made it the prototype for how a cemetery with Picturesque landscaping could be created in contrast to the rapidly expanding cities of the 19th century. Inspired by Alexander Jackson Downing, the most nationally prominent landscape designer and author in antebellum America, David Bates Douglass conceived the overall plan for the Picturesque landscape, executed with complementary Gothic Revival buildings by Richard Upjohn and his son Richard Michell Upjohn" 
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  3. ^ "New York State Counties". New York State Counties. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Collins, Glenn (April 1, 2004). "Ground as Hallowed as Cooperstown; Green-Wood Cemetery, Home to 200 Baseball Pioneers". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-28. "Before A-Rod and Jeter, there were J-Creigh and Woodward. That would be James Creighton, Jr., the world's first true baseball star, and John B. Woodward, an outfielder who became a Union general in the Civil War. Both played for the Excelsior Club – sort of the Yankees of the early 1860s – and now both reside in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. ... Mr. Nash discovered some monuments, like that of Duncan Curry, by sheer chance, while walking through the cemetery. Curry, first president of the Knickerbocker Baseball Club, is immortalized with a monument that proudly dubs him Father of Baseball because he headed the club that scholars say first codified many of the game's rules. ... Another Green-Wood resident, DeWolf Hopper, a thespian, delivered a rendition of the Ernest Thayer poem, Casey at the Bat, shortly after it was published in 1888, and proceeded to perform it more than 10,000 times over the next half-century. One of his six marriages was to a Hollywood socialite who took his name: Hedda Hopper. At Tulip Hill, the imposing granite vault of the three Patchen brothers – Sam Patchen (shortstop), Joe Patchen (right field) and Edward Patchen (infielder) – is the only crypt of early baseball players, the Alou brothers of their time. ... A happier story is that of Charles J. Smith, one of the great players of the 1860's, Mr. Richman said. He was buried in a seemingly unmarked grave at Green-Wood. But investigation by a grounds crew discovered his monument last year, a few feet underground, where it had sunk. It has now been restored." 
  5. ^ Paul Goldberger (1977-11-17). "Design Notebook; Pastoral Green-Wood cemetery is a lesson in 19th-century taste.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-23. "'Before there was a Central Park and a Prospect Park, people came to GreenWood,' said William J. Ward. Green-Wood is not a park, it is not a playground and it is not a rural outpost; it is a cemetery in southwest Brooklyn. But there is no mystery as to why it was once popular for Sunday outings--Green-Wood is as lush a landscape as exists anywhere in the built-up boroughs of New York." 
  6. ^ "Henry Evelyn Pierrepont". Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  7. ^ "Pierrepont Family Memorial". Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2007-09-23. "Henry Evelyn Pierrepont was known as the "first citizen" of Brooklyn for good reason. He, along with his father Hezekiah B. and mother Anna Maria before him, played a significant role in the planning of Brooklyn as a physical city, its crucial ferry services to New York, and the establishment of Green-Wood Cemetery itself." 
  8. ^ " A Web Site About the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn". Retrieved 2007-09-23. "The beautiful Civil War-era gate to Greenwood Cemetery is spectacular in its own right; add vociferous parrots and you've got one of the most sublime, most surreal locales on the planet." 
  9. ^ Pesquarelli, Adrianne. "Gotham Gigs; Birdman". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved 2007-09-23.  The article presents information concerning the year-round tours led by Steve Baldwin in Brooklyn, New York to the nests of parrots. Baldwin volunteers to lead walking tours to the nests of an extended family of wild Quaker parrots which escaped from a shipping crate at JFK International Airport in the late 1960s.
  10. ^ James, Edward T.; James, Janet Wilson; Boyer, Paul S. "Notable American women, 1607–1950: a biographical dictionary", p. 345, Harvard University Press, 1971. ISBN 0674627342. Accessed June 28, 2009.
  11. ^ Mulligan, Thomas S. (August 3, 2003). "Slain New York City Councilman Reburied; Reinterment occurred after family learned his killer's ashes were in the same cemetery.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-07-19. "'If she had known that Askew's cremated remains were at Green-Wood, she never would have agreed to have her son buried there,' Hill said." 
  12. ^ "Final Tributes To Montague. Thousands Of Friends Attend His Funeral Services. Rev. Dr. Houghton Speaks Of His Life. A "Straw" Bail Man In Custody.". New York Times. August 22, 1878, Wednesday. "The mortal remains of Henry J. Montague were laid to rest yesterday within the quiet precincts of Green-Wood Cemetery. No elaborate ceremonies were performed over the coffin, but a thousand mourners, many of them weeping attend the services in "The Little Church Around the Corner," and as many more followed the hearse to the cemetery. The funeral services were carried out in accordance with the programme previously arranged." 
  13. ^ although it had already been published in children's primers in Britain as early as 1813
  14. ^ Tripp, Wendell E. (1982). Robert Troup: A Quest for Security in a Turbulent New Nation. Ayer Publishing. pp. 322. ISBN 0405140746.,M1. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 

External linksEdit

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Green-Wood Cemetery. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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