United States

Ancient Burying Ground

Located downtown, just east of Bushnell Park, this burial ground was established by the municipality in 1640 on land now bound by Main, Gold, and Pearl Streets. Orignally larger, acreage was lost to encroaching development over the centuries and now measures one-and-a half acres. In 1739 a meetinghouse was established on the grounds, obscuring burial sites. The structure was replaced with the First Church of Christ in 1807, which marks the site’s southeastern corner.

Today the grounds are bordered to the west by a row of row of nineteenth structures (listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976) and to the north by a 26-story tower (1975). Its eastern and southern edges are bound by low brick walls surmounted by wrought iron fences, each marked by ornamental gates. From each gate, stairs ascend modest rises to meet narrow linear and curving crushed stone paths that navigate the relatively level site.

The interior of the burial ground is open, distinguished by more than 600 grave markers arranged in rows aligned on a north-south axis; its edges are planted with deciduous trees, including maple, oak, and pine. Monuments include, the “Founder’s Monument,” an obelisk (1835) that commemorates Hartford’s bicentennial; and the “African American Memorial,” (1998) a black headstone and plaque that commemorates the estimated 300 African Americans, including five colonial community leaders known as “black governors,” interred in unmarked graves. The site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and is included on the Connecticut Freedom Trail.

Location and Nearby Landscapes

Nearby Landscapes