Established in 1660, this approximately two-acre cemetery is located on the edge of Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, just to the east of Boston Common. It contains more than 2,300 grave markers, including those for Benjamin Franklin’s parents, Paul Revere, John Hancock, James Otis, and Samuel Adams. During the early Victorian era, headstones in the graveyard were reorganized into street-facing rows to accommodate the advent of the lawn mower. An Egyptian Revival gate and fence, designed by architect Isaiah Rogers, was installed in 1840. Interments ceased in 1880, after concerns about overcrowding and public health were raised by local physicians.
The trapezoid-shaped cemetery is surrounded by commercial and institutional development on three sides, and opens onto Tremont Street on the remaining side. It is dotted with mature trees and plaques, which highlight historically significant persons interred in the cemetery. There are stone paths along the perimeter of the cemetery, and a path runs from the main entrance through the center of the burying ground.
Secondary paths branch off from the central spine to connect with the perimeter path. Wrought iron bollards connected by a single chain line both sides of the central path in an effort to keep people from veering off the established pathways. The Granary Burying Ground is one of sixteen stops along the Freedom Trail.