Established in 1864, Cedar Hill Cemetery encompasses 270 acres of landscaped woodlands, waterways and memorial grounds. In the Victorian era, a growing public sentiment that a cemetery should serve a larger purpose than merely as a place for interment led to the development of the American rural cemetery.
In Hartford, by the summer of 1863, the need for a place of burial satisfactory to its practical as well as aesthetic Victorian-era requirements became evident. In response, a group of prominent Hartford citizens asked the city’s Park Superintendent, Jacob Weidenmann, to aid them in identifying a location for a new cemetery that was “sufficiently removed from the city, possessing suitable soil and the largest number of other desirable characteristics, such as variety of surface, beauty of landscape and running water.”
The desired location, in Hartford’s south end, included nine parcels of land, each belonging to different individuals or estates. To resolve difficulties over the purchase of the land, the General Assembly passed a bill in May 1864 granting the institution the power to acquire the land by eminent domain, marking the beginnings of Cedar Hill.
Construction of the new cemetery began in September 1865 and the first burial took place on July 17, 1866. Designed by landscape pioneer, Jacob Weidenmann, Cedar Hill’s innovative layout became the guiding principle for Weidenmann’s book, Modern Cemeteries, published in 1888.
Over 150 years old, Cedar Hill continues to be a nationally recognized American rural cemetery. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, its significance is the result of careful planning, dignified memorial artworks, and the utmost respect for the people interred here.
Established in 1999, Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to preserve, protect and promote in perpetuity the art, culture, history and natural beauty of Hartford’s nationally recognized Cedar Hill Cemetery. Today, Cedar Hill Cemetery & Foundation work collaboratively to ensure the cemetery remains a place of beauty, serenity, and tranquility for who all visit.
We invite you to support our efforts to maintain and restore the cemetery’s historic architecture, preserve the historic and unique memorial artworks, conserve and protect the natural resources, care for the picturesque trees and shrubs, and present educational tours and events to the public.