Exploring the History of Copp’s Hill Burying Ground

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is a historic cemetery located in Boston, Massachusetts, and is believed to be the second oldest burial ground in the city. This picturesque graveyard has not only stood the test of time but also holds within its wall’s stories of prominent figures, interesting facts, and intriguing legends. Let’s take a closer look at the fascinating history of this iconic landmark.

Origins and Design

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground was first established in 1659, making it over 360 years old. It was originally known as “Windmill Hill,” named after the windmill that once stood on its grounds. The cemetery was designed by William Copp, an English immigrant who owned the land at the time. The design of the cemetery was inspired by European burial grounds and featured narrow pathways, winding alleys, and grand family tombs.

Famous Figures

Over 10,000 people were buried at Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, including many notable figures. Some of the most prominent names include Increase Mather (a Puritan minister and president of Harvard University), Robert Newman (the church sexton who hung the lanterns in Old North Church during Paul Revere’s ride), and Prince Hall (an abolitionist and founder of the first African American Masonic lodge). Visitors can also find graves of soldiers from the Revolutionary War and Civil War, as well as victims of the Boston Massacre.

Interesting Facts

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is not only home to famous figures but also boasts interesting facts and peculiarities. For example, it is the final resting place of Phineas Gage, a man who survived an iron rod passing through his skull in an industrial accident. The cemetery also has a section for over 1,000 Irish immigrants who died during the Great Famine in the mid-19th century. Additionally, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground has one of the largest collections of carved headstones in Boston.

Legends and Hauntings

Like many historic cemeteries, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground has its fair share of ghost stories and legends. One of the most famous is the story of the Lady in Black, a mysterious woman dressed in all black who roams the cemetery at night. Some believe she is the ghost of a widow searching for her husband’s grave, while others say she is connected to witchcraft and curses. Visitors have also reported strange occurrences, such as feeling someone tapping on their shoulder or hearing voices when no one else is around.

Preservation Efforts

In 1836, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground was designated as a public park and has been maintained by the City of Boston ever since. The cemetery underwent major restoration efforts in the 1970s to preserve its historic gravestones and structures. Today, visitors can take self-guided tours or join guided tours to learn more about the cemetery’s history and its famous occupants.

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is not just a cemetery but a living piece of history. Its unique design, famous figures, interesting facts, and legends make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Boston’s past.

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