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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Griffin Street Cemetery
Reference Number 14000062
State Massachusetts
County Bristol
Town New Bedford
Street Address South Second and Griffin Streets
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 3/19/2014
Areas of Significance Landscape Architecture, Social History, Community Planning and Development, Art
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Griffin Street Cemetery is significant at the local level under National Register Criteria A and C and Criteria Consideration D. It is the earliest extant burial ground in the city, and the only one that remains in an urban context; despite repeated pressure since the late 1840s to relocate those interred there, the cemetery has remained on its original site, a densely urban setting since the mid 1800s. Griffin Street Cemetery today contains evidence of one of only two significant incursions on its original space. It exemplifies the type of burial ground common in American cities before the Rural Cemetery movement of the 1830s. It also represents the ethnic and integrated nature of the pre-1830s community. Griffin Street Cemetery is significant as well because it contains stones of eastern Massachusetts carvers whose work is not represented in any other city cemetery. Stones by or attributed to Isaac Thompson Jr., Daniel Gerrish, John B. Taylor, and Elisha Hinman Everett-whose son is buried at Griffin Street-exist within the burial ground. Markers dating from between 1804 and the late 1840s show the development of certain motifs, especially the urn and willow, over nearly the full period during which they were in vogue. The period of significance extends from the cemetery's founding in 1802 to the date ofthe last significant improvement to its grounds, the stone wall created by the Works Projects administration, in 1937.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria