Statement of Significance (as of designation - February 16, 2000):
Incorporated in 1797, New Haven's Grove Street Cemetery represents a milestone in the development of the American cemetery as a distinct institution unto itself. The cemetery association was formed by a group of private citizens intent on creating a dignified and functional burying ground for the entire community. Prior to this in America, providing burial space had been a secondary function undertaken by the civil government, religious institutions, or individual families. Grove Street Cemetery illustrates the evolution of the American cemetery as a distinctive landscape; the rational grid of the 18th century, the romanticism of the early 19th century, and the lawn-park ideal of the late 19th century are all in evidence. In addition, the enclosure and entrance gate, the work of the influential architect Henry Austin, are regarded as leading examples of the Egyptian Revival style in America.