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Grove Street Cemetery or Grove Street Burial Ground is a cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut, that is surrounded by the Yale University campus. It was organized in 1796 as the New Haven Burying Ground and incorporated in October 1797 to replace the crowded burial ground on the New Haven Green. The first private, nonprofit cemetery in the world, it was one of the earliest burial grounds to have a planned layout, with plots permanently owned by individual families, a structured arrangement of ornamental plantings, and paved and named streets and avenues. By introducing ideas like permanent memorials and the sanctity of the deceased body, the cemetery became "a real turning point... a whole redefinition of how people viewed death and dying", according to historian Peter Dobkin Hall. Many notable Yale and New Haven luminaries are buried in the Grove Street Cemetery, including 14 Yale presidents; nevertheless, it was not restricted to members of the upper class, and was open to all.
Today, it is managed by Camco Cemetery Management.
For the first 160 years of permanent settlement, New Haven residents buried their dead on the New Haven Green, the town's central open space and churchyard. In 1794-95, a yellow fever plague swept the town. The increased demand for burial space prompted James Hillhouse, a businessman and U.S. Senator, to invite other prominent families in the town to establish a dedicated burial ground on farmland bordering the town. In 1796, thirty-two families purchased a tract just north of Grove Street, the tract was enclosed by a wooden fence, which was prone to rotting and needed to be replaced frequently. At first consisting of 6 acres (0.024 km2), the cemetery was quickly subscribed and thereafter expanded to nearly 18 acres (0.073 km2).
In 1821, the monuments on the green were removed to the Grove Street Cemetery.
Gateway and fence construction (1845-49)
Completed in 1845, the entrance on Grove Street is a brownstone Egyptian Revival gateway, designed by New Haven architects Henry Austin and Hezekiah Augur, both of whom are buried at the cemetery. The style, popular in New England in that era, was chosen to reinforce the antiquity of the site. The lintel of the gateway is inscribed "The Dead Shall Be Raised." The quotation is taken from 1 Corinthians 15.52: "For the trumpet will sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed." Supposedly, Yale President Arthur Twining Hadley said of the inscription,"They certainly will be, if Yale needs the property."
In 1848-49, the perimeter of the cemetery was surrounded on three sides by an 8-foot (2.4 m) stone wall.
In 2008, Yale announced plans to construct two new residential colleges just north of the cemetery. In 2009, university administrators and affiliates suggested to the cemetery proprietors that an additional gate be constructed in the north section of the historic wall that surrounds the burial ground to permit pedestrians to walk through the cemetery from the main Yale campus to the planned new colleges. In addition, the proprietors considered a proposal brought forward by one proprietor that would replace portions of the stone sections of the wall bordering Prospect Street with iron fencing similar to that already running along the cemetery's southern border on Grove Street. The proposal, withdrawn following a public meeting, included architectural and landscaping designs by Yale Architecture School Dean Robert A.M. Stern.