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Ground-Breaking Cemeteries in United States

Laurel Hill in Philadelphia and Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale are infamous cemeteries that were constructed at the heels of an important time in the United States. Cemetery reform was a significant movement that aimed to solve the issue of overcrowded burial sites that contributed to further death and disease, as seen in the yellow fever outbreak that took place in New York City.

Laurel Hill , Pennsylvania

In 1836, Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was known for more than a place to bury the dead , it also served as a park for the locals. Taking a lead from the first two garden cemeteries to emerge in the United States, Laurel Hill was the answer that Philadelphia was looking for. The people wanted a place to get a breath of fresh and green surroundings, and Laurel Hill became part of the Garden Cemetery Movement. However, its popularity went beyond the expectations of developers. After a couple of months had passed after its opening in 1836, Laurel Hill solidified itself as a popular tourist attraction. It even received more visitors than the Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

The cemetery had impressive natural features, including walking paths, flatlands, babbling brooks, and majestic trees. Despite the tombstones and graveyard sculptures, lovers chose the cemetery as a place to take romantic daytime strolls. It was a time where cemeteries were viewed as a park , somewhere to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors.

Forest Lawn Memorial Park , California

One of the most infamous of cemeteries is located in Glendale, California , Forest Lawn Memorial Park , the first memorial cemetery in the world. The natural landscape of the garden cemetery also used a few man-made artifacts to enhance the appearance of the outdoor setting. The aim of creating a memorial park was to lay the dead to rest in a setting that incorporated elements of fantasy. Imagery in the cemetery appeared larger, brighter, and with bolder impressions. For example, a reproduction of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ was described as being taller than the original.

Taken a cue from Roman frescos, the Venetian glass replica of the Sistine Chapel ceiling delivered brighter colors because they used hues that Michelangelo would not have had access to. Because of its close proximity to Hollywood, it is no wonder that Forest Lawn took a page from the book of glitz.

Forest Lawn Memorial Park was the brainchild of cemetery reformer Dr. Hubert Eaton, who had the idea for the park in 1916. Eaton wanted to create a place that the dearly departed would permanently rest, while others would enjoy their own slice of enjoyment. Since 1906, there was a small, uncomplicated cemetery that took up the site. However, when Forest Lawn was created, it took over 50 acres and by the time 1941 rolled around, it had expanded to 300 acres. Today, there are four separate parks that take up more than 1,200 acres. It is estimated that about one out of every 10 burials in California take place at Forest Lawn.

Some of the infamous stars laid to rest at the cemetery include Humphrey Bogart, Lon Chaney, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and Spencer Tracy.