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Pittsburgh's Homewood Cemetery was established in 1878 as a Lawn Park style cemetery.
In the 1800's, there was a large American Vemetery Movement to change the concerns of burying the dead.
With the Industrial Revolution, small towns were turning
burying the dead in overcrowded inner city churchyards became a
First, the living
needed space within the city.
Second, lack of sanitation within the crowded
conditions of the cities
resulted in deadly outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and
other infectious diseases.
Rural Cemeteries were established out in the countryside
away from the urban areas.
The landscape of this type of cemetery was designed to
resemble the Romantic,
rambling gardens of an English estate...
this is to say
that much of the wild beauty of the land was left intact for its “picturesque”
Rural cemeteries divided these grounds into family lots,
thus ensuring that family members would be reunited in death.
Families could design their plots in any way
The result of the Rural
plan was a cacophony of monuments and plots which were hard to maintain.
In the 1850’s, a Prussian
landscape artist Adolphe Strauch,
developed the Lawn Park style of cemetery,
which was a merger of landscape design and a system of rules and regulations.
The design stressed clearing the dramatic natural landscapes of yesteryear
and manipulating the ground into a natural looking green space.
Trees, shrubs, and
other plantings were kept to a minimum to allow the play of sunlight over green
The effect was to one of restraint, both in the landscape and in
Under Strauch’s plan, lot
owners lost the ability to fence their lots,
send in their own gardeners, or
add any plantings to their property.
cemetery was to provide service and care to the grounds as a whole, thus
maintaining a unified landscape.
professionalism that allowed Lawn Park cemeteries to take over the care of
helped break the bond many families had established with their lots
Homewood Cemetery established these Lawn Park guidelines
by which lot owners
were encouraged to lay out their lots…
the ideal layout was one large family
marker accompanied by small, matching headstones.
This arrangement was supposed
to eliminate the Rural tendencies
to both overplant and to mix and match
monument styles within family lots.
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