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Central Burying Ground

Dating from 1756, Central Burying Ground is located on Boston Common on Boylston Street near Tremont Street.

Central was established to alleviate overcrowding at King's Chapel, Copp's Hill and Granary Burying Grounds. Acquired from Andrew Oliver, Jr., the site was formerly a portion of Colonel Fitch's pasture at the bottom of the Common. Bostonians considered this burial ground the least desirable because it was the farthest from the market center of the town. It contains the graves of:

  • British common soldiers who died in combat or of disease during the Revolution
  • foreigners who died while in Boston
  • American patriots from the battle of Bunker Hill and the Boston Tea Party
  • painter Gilbert Stuart, and
  • composer William Billings.

In the 1820s, Mayor Josiah Quincy attempted to close the burying ground to extend the tree-lined mall on the Common. The 1826 ordinance on the burial of the dead closed the burying ground, banning the opening or digging of new graves and the building of additional tombs. The ban was rescinded in 1836 to permit construction of more tombs.

The same year, Mayor Armstrong's administration cut a swath off the corner, eliminating a row of tombs and extending Boylston Street to connect with Tremont Street. The large free-standing tomb structure, "The Dell," along the west edge of the burying ground houses the remains of the graves disturbed by street construction. Additionally a large grave in the northwest part of the site contains human remains unearthed during subway construction in 1895.

  • Boylston Street in the Boston Common
    Boston, MA 02116
  • icon-time
    Open daily from about 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
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