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Old North Cemetery

Battlefields & Cemeteries

Old North Cemetery
Hartford, Connecticut

Heritage Landscapes is leading a team of experts to develop the Old North Cemetery Historic Landscape Preservation Master Plan.  This public burying ground was established in Hartford in the early 19th century, at a time when perceptions, use, and character of burial grounds were dictated by functionality. The resulting landscape is modest, characterized by geometric forms with a linear network of carriage drives and paths and straight rows of burial markers.  As the landscape was improved over time, consideration was given to the character and effect of the landscape, reflecting a broader shift in US burial practices from pure functionality to the desire to create scenic, park-like cemetery grounds.  The surviving landscape conveys a story of the evolution of this burial ground and the cemeteries of Hartford and our nation. It also provides a textbook of the social history of the city with several notable burials, including Frederick Law Olmsted and Horace Bushnell. 

The Old North Cemetery Historic Landscape Preservation Master Plan seeks to structure preservation, interpretation, management, and stewardship of Old North Cemetery into the future. Research and documentation of the cemetery history, evolution, and existing conditions revealed a number of landscape issues and goals for the future of the cultural landscape.  Key landscape issues at Old North Cemetery include: preservation of historic landscape character and features; conservation of gravestones, monuments, and plot fences; limitations of current maintenance; and drainage failures. Through meetings with City representatives, stakeholders, and community members, Heritage Landscapes identified opportunities for neighborhood engagement and community-focused initiatives as important goals for Old North Cemetery.  Norman Weiss of Integrated Conservation Resources, Inc. performed a field review of cemetery markers, gravestones, and plot enclosures to identify the level of deterioration.  From this investigation, recommendations and priorities for the conservation of these valuable historic resources were developed.  The Master Plan provides the City and community with a strong base of understanding that defines an appropriate approach to resolve issues and enhance the historic landscape character, sense of place, user experiences, and community value.   

City of Hartford

Old North Cemetery Historic Landscape Preservation Master Plan, 2009

Project Credits:
eritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners with Norma Williams, Landscape History, and Norman Weiss, ICR, Inc., Stone Conservation