Reviving Dead Spaces: Historic urban cemeteries for the living (no zombies)

In the Victorian era, cemeteries were often viewed as vibrant public spaces. Instead of being viewed solely as final resting places, cemeteries earned mention in tourist guidebooks and became gathering places for weekend outings.

Having famous and historically interesting people buried in a cemetery certainly helps gin up interest.

In Pineville, Louisiana, across the Red River from Alexandria, the historic Rapides Cemetery, hosted a fundraiser last month where six people dressed in period costumes played the roles of notable people buried in the gravesites.

Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, long known for its who’s who of eternal residents, monument and mausoleum architecture, and beautiful hilly arbored landscapes—plus its colony of wild blue-green Monk parakeets—has a robust offering of public programming.

That includes regular trolley tours, moonlight walking excursions, and special events, including an upcoming “Victorian extravaganza of performing arts” that will “begin with a picnic around the beautiful pond Crescent Water, and will unfold into an evening of showmanship in front of [William] Niblo’s grand mausoleum.

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