Stonington Cemetery now listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Stonington -- Stonington Cemetery president Lynn Callahan announced Monday that the cemetery at the intersection of Route 1 and North Main Street was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 19.

She said it is the second cemetery in New London County to receive this honor and just one of 10 in the state.

The now 22-acre cemetery has evolved from a 1-acre family burial ground in the mid-18th century to 6 acres when it was incorporated in 1849 and then expanded to 22 acres in 1881. Lined, landscaped and shaded with mature trees, the cemetery contains more than 2,150 markers carved from all types of stone along with three mausoleums, a receiving vault and a caretaker building. Originally known as the Phelps Burial Ground and Evergreen Cemetery, it also features stone walls, wrought iron fencing and a small pond.

In the announcement, Callahan said that “While the cemetery is neither the oldest nor the grandest in Connecticut, it is an unusual example of the three periods of cemetery design in New England – a family or church burial ground, a 19th century landscape cemetery, and a modern memorial park type cemetery. It is unusual for all three designs to be represented in one location.”

Among those buried in the cemetery are Nathaniel Palmer, who some credit with discovering Antarctica, railroad engineer George Washington Whistler, veterans of wars dating back to the American Revolution and poets and writers such as James Merrill, Stephen Vincent Benet and J.D. McClatchy.

The listing culminates an effort by the cemetery association that including a 70-page application to obtain the designation.

 

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