Mayor Setti Warren announced today that Newton’s efforts to restore and preserve its historic East Parish Burying Ground have advanced with the award of a $50,000 matching grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
“We are grateful that the Massachusetts Historical Commission selected Historic Newton for this valuable grant,” Mayor Warren said. “The grant will be used to match $653,679 in City of Newton CPA funds to restore and preserve tombs and grave markers in the city’s oldest burying grounds.” Mayor Warren added, “The grant represents an important way the City is working to leverage the efforts of Historic Newton, a public-private partnership, with state and city funds to enhance one of Newton’s treasures.”
In 2003, Historic Newton and City of Newton Parks and Recreation Department launched a long range program to secure funding to restore the City’s historic burying grounds, including gravestone and tomb restoration, improved public access, and the installation of new fences, gates, and signage.
The East Parish Burying Ground, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located at the corner of Centre and Cotton Streets, and has gravesites dating from 1668 to the nineteenth century. It is one of Newton’s three historic burying grounds, all of which are slated for preservation under a multi-year plan. Marking the final resting place of many of Newton's European settlers, the Burying Ground contains some of the finest examples of early American gravestone art carved by some of our nations most accomplished gravestone artists.
Historic Newton Director Lisa Dady said, “The Massachusetts Historical Commission has played an important role in helping to preserve historic structures, landscapes and community history. The gravestones and tombs reveal dozens of names now associated with Newton's streets, schools, public buildings, parks, and landmarks.” Dady added, “This grant will allow us to continue our work to restore a part of Newton’s history as well as to create an open air museum, park-like green space, and a place for walking and contemplation.”
In addition to restoration efforts, Historic Newton organizes educational walking tours and volunteer clean-ups at Newton's three historic burying grounds. The East Parish Burying Ground, which is listed in the State Registry of Historic Places, received this matching grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund, through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin, Chairman.