Statement of Significance (as of designation - May 27, 2003):
This cemetery, located in Watertown and Cambridge, Massachusetts exemplifies the characteristics of rural cemeteries - stone monuments seated within a tranquil retreat with grass lawns, flowers, shrubs and trees . These qualities that have become embedded in the American consciousness were born in 1831 at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts. Mount Auburn initiated the great age of American cemetery-building and influenced the design of public parks, monuments, and suburbs. It profoundly reflects19th-century attitudes about death, and had a great influence on the design of other cemeteries. While changes have occurred over the years, Mount Auburn Cemetery's original design and rural character create a well-preserved cultural landscape that is largely intact as a distinct American design. Within its present 170 acres, Mount Auburn can be explored as a museum with "period rooms," representing all aspects of American cemetery design and cultural traditions.