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In the Neighborhood: Mount Auburn Cemetery

Mt. Auburn Cemetery

You don’t need to be history buff to find inspiration in Mount Auburn Cemetery. A National Historic Landmark, Mt. Auburn offers 175 acres of beautiful hills and woodlands alongside graves that date back to the early 19th century.

Seven things to do and see at Mt. Auburn:

  1. Take a self-guided tour using the Mt. Auburn app. You can also stop by the visitors’ center just inside the gates for a printed map or to sign up for a guided tour.
  2. Visit the ecological wonder that is Mt. Auburn’s new 9,500 square-foot greenhouse. The climate-controlled environment relies on the most advanced energy-efficient practices like a 30,000 gallon underground cistern that collects rainwater to irrigate the greenery.
  3. Look for spotted salamanders, frogs, turtles and coyotes. And, if you’re a birder, enjoy the incredible range of feathered friends, including blue heron, red-tailed hawks, wild turkeys, mourning doves, woodpeckers, mockingbirds, great-horned owls and screech owls.
  4. Sit under one of the over 5,000 trees, which include nearly 700 varieties. Learn a little about them from the labels detailing the date planted, botanic and common names, and species.
  5. Climb the (many) winding steps up the Washington Tower for an incredible panoramic view of the Boston skyline and surrounding towns. (Keep in mind, though, that the tower is closed in the winter months.)
  6. Walk the African American Heritage Trail and look for the newly placed monument marking the grave of Katherine T. “Kittie” Knox. Knox was an avid cyclist and activist in the women’s movement in the 1800s.
  7. Take in Bigelow Chapel, the 1846 Gothic Revival style chapel where weddings and funerals are still held today. The building’s recent renovation earned the 2007 Watertown Historic Preservation Award.

Though the gates are normally open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., you should check the cemetery’s website to confirm hours of operation. Please note: Dogs aren’t permitted, so your four-legged canine friend will have to stay home.