Sara Thopson - Jul 16, 2012

Cemeteries across the world offer wonderful insights to stories of the past for the living to behold. Through the carvings on headstones, delving into crypts, and the general landscape of the cemetery, one can find pieces to puzzles, information on the past and more clues to a specific person or event. One can find so much once the eerie surface has been broken, and the truth below revealed. Even in the USA, still a moderately new country, travelers can find such riches of the past. invites you to discover five of the best cemeteries in the USA to visit.

1. Mount Auburn, Cambridge, Massachusetts

There are many important and famous names buried beneath the soil at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Such personas as Henry Wadsworth, Mary Baker Eddy, and Winslow Homer all rest here. This beautiful cemetery was founded in 1831 and is nestled amongst formal gardens, magnificent oak and maple trees, set alongside the rolling hilled landscape. It makes for a wonderful visit, and with its white tower, offers the visitor a high vantage point to oversee the entire cemetery. Indeed, it was the first landscaped garden area to be opened to the public, and this in turn gave birth to the US formal park system.

2. St. Louis No. 1, New Orleans, Louisiana

This amazing cemetery fits into just one square block and has a thousand above ground vaults. Among the dead buried here are Barthelemy Lafon (the architect turned pirate), and a legend says that the voodoo priestess Marie Laveau also rests here. This cemetery is located near the French Quarter and since it was founded in 1789 it is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans.

3. Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

Louis Comfort Tiffany and Jean-Michel Basquait are just two of the many famous names to be interred at Green Wood Cemetery. Many beautiful tombstones, mausoleums, and granite monuments adorn this cemetery. The cemetery takes up around 478 acres, and is very park like, containing serene ponds, steep hillsides and magnificent gothic entrance gate built around 1861. With the Manhattan skyline peering over the top, this cemetery is also home to the members of the Roosevelt family, including the former president too.

4. Lone Fir Cemetery in Portland, Oregon

With over 25,000 graves over 25 acres, this lovely cemetery captures the spirit of the early pioneers, Block 14, and there is also a memorial dedicated to the immigrants from China who helped build the city. Another highlight is the gothic style mausoleum of the MacLeay family. This cemetery is unique in that it allows for the burial of a tree in memory of the deceased.

5. Forest Lawn, Los Angeles, California

This cemetery of Hollywood stars overlooks the Tinseltown studios. Here you may find the graves of many celebrities, including Michael Jackson (at nearby Glendale), Bette Davis, Tom Bosley of Happy Days fame, and even the great Liberace. Despite the high presence of the Hollywood residents buried here, the graves are not as glitzy as one may imagine.

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  1. How can you omit Arlington National Cemetary in Washington, DC? It might not be glitzy or uber-cool, but seeing the fields and fields of men (and women) who paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country and watching the bittersweet solemnity of the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of the most moving experiences and emotionally-wrenching history lessons one can have. A must see, no matter your origin or political leanings.

    Junius (USA)

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