To Die For

A hidden-away celebrity cemetery that's a work of art

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Photo: Les Wood

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vershadowed by the far more famous Mount Auburn Cemetery, the 280-acre Forest Hills Cemetery boasts one of the nation’s finest collections of 19th-century sculptures, including five by Lincoln Memorial designer Daniel Chester French. It was designed in 1848 by Henry A.S. Dearborn, the same horticulturist who helped create Mount Auburn, with rolling hills, trees, gardens, terraces, and man-made ponds; Dearborn liked it so much more, he had his own parents’ remains moved to Forest Hills from Mount Auburn. Among the 100,000 other people buried there are poet Anne Sexton, Barron’s founder Clarence Walker Barron, playwright Eugene O’Neill, author Edward Everett Hale, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis, and poet e.e. cummings. There is a monument erected by Cunard to its employees lost at sea; a bronze eagle in memory of Kitchell Snow, the first man to land at what is now Logan International Airport, who died in a crash when he was 23; and the grave of John Souther, who invented the steam shovel and the automatic sprinkler. One of the oddest monument is the memorial to Louis E. Mieusset, who died at the age of 5 in 1886; he is depicted in a small boat, now kept under glass.

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Also buried in Forest Hills Cemetery is Jimmy “Slyde’’ Godbolt, a local tap dancer who went on to international fame and whose headstone depicts a pair of slippers, and Butler and Mary Evans Wilson; he cofounded the local NAACP and her knitting club made socks for World War I soldiers.

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