While we are particularly proud of our long-term relationship with Mount Auburn Cemetery, the reality is that most cemeteries face similar challenges but are working with fewer resources and are unable to make grand improvements.
So what does one do if it’s a municipal-run or a private cemetery that can only take on improvements periodically or at a much smaller scale? We’ve tackled many challenges and provided a variety of solutions:
Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY
Similar to Mount Auburn, Mount Hope Cemetery is nationally regarded as a cultural treasure and home to historic luminaries such as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. The landscape is beautiful, but the cemetery is running out of space for the conventional burials needed to generate revenue.
As a municipal cemetery, Mount Hope also lacked the funding to undertake a massive restoration effort, so they tapped Halvorson Design (working with Hunt Engineering) to develop a master plan that offers short- and long-term solutions for protecting this important asset while finding opportunities to extend its lifetime and create revenue.
The Mount Hope Cemetery master plan:
Developed guiding principles for preserving, rehabilitating, and enhancing the cultural landscape
Identified areas for conventional burials by closing little-used roads, determining locations for high-value mausoleums, and terracing undeveloped sites on steep slopes
Located areas for scattering gardens and communal monuments
Developed a tree management plan for the preservation or replacement of the cemetery’s aging tree population
Provided an implementation plan, with ballpark costs, for priority projects
Old Village Cemetery, Dedham, MA
The Old Village Cemetery is owned by the Town of Dedham and supported by a proactive Friends group. While no longer active, this historic cemetery is home to many of the town’s founding fathers. Halvorson Design was tapped to develop a phased improvement plan that would enhance the character and beauty of the historic cemetery. Improvements currently being implemented include new plantings, path resurfacing, and repairs to walls, monuments, and fencing.
Ridgelawn Cemetery, Watertown, MA
Ridgelawn is an active cemetery serving the Town of Watertown. The Town hired Halvorson to develop a beautification plan to improve the cemetery’s salability and attractiveness, provide screening from the surrounding neighborhood, and locate areas for expansion and opportunities to provide alternative memorialization. We’ve just presented our draft recommendations to the Town. Stay tuned for more.
St. Paul’s Parish Cemetery, Hingham, MA
Located in Hingham, St. Paul’s Parish Cemetery is a small, privately owned Catholic cemetery that was looking to maximize burial and memorialization spaces. Halvorson highlighted areas for enhancement, by closing underutilized roads to provide additional burial space, introducing a columbarium wall, and designing a new ornamental fence.
West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA
Halvorson Design has been working with West Laurel Hill Cemetery, a privately managed historic cemetery just outside of Philadelphia, for a number of years, completing their master plan in 1999 and collaborating with the cemetery over the past few years to implement phased improvements.
Near the cemetery’s main entrance, Telford Path is a result of a larger entry precinct plan that focused on creating a series of appealing garden rooms and meandering paths for use by cemetery visitors and the community. The design features groups of trees, shrubs and ground covers arranged along the hillside. Halvorson Design’s plan incorporates preexisting cemetery lots into a seamless whole, offering additional burial, scattering, and cremation spaces.
“The Laurels” Pet Cemetery
The Laurels Pet Cemetery, is a private, serene sanctuary on the grounds of West Laurel Hill that allows the cemetery to offer a unique new service, a final resting place for their clients’ animal companions. This three-acre landscaped and wooded enclave features a walking trail and opportunities to honor a beloved pet’s memory.
Currently, we are designing West Laurel Hill’s new Jewish section, which will provide much-needed burial space that aligns with the specific requirements of Jewish burial practices.
Stay tuned for updates on the design.