English Garden Writer John Claudius Loudon First Encouraged the Park Cemetery

Nineteenth century landscape architect Adolph Strauch, trained in Vienna, designed the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati according to the new park cemetery style.

After  Strauch died in 1883, the Boston nurseryman Charles Mason Hovey made it clear the English garden writer John Claudius Loudon (1783-1843) first encouraged the park cemetery.

Hovey wrote an article that appeared in the 1883 issue of the popular American journal Gardener’s Monthly.  He said, “I was much surprised to read in the report of the cemetery committee, upon his decease, that ‘Mr. Strauch originated the landscape plan system for cemeteries.’ ”

Then Hovey made it clear that it was Loudon who was the master mind behind the park cemetery concept.

The cypress tree frames this water view in Cincinatti's Spring Grove Cemetery.

The cypress trees frame this water view in Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery.

He wrote, “I scarcely need refer to the late J. C. Louden (sic), who died long before the Spring Grove Cemetery was established, and more than ten years before Mr. Strauch took charge of the grounds. Two years before his death, in 1842, he described the ‘Principles of Landscape Gardening and of Landscape Architecture, applied to the laying out of public cemeteries.’ ”

Thus Hovey wanted to let American gardeners know that the idea for the park cemetery, as seen also today in cemeteries like Mount Auburn in Cambridge, Mass. and Forest Hills in Boston,  originated in England with Loudon.

Hovey, though recognizing the brilliance in Strauch’s design for the Cemetery, wrote, “Strauch was no originator of the system, but had the good judgment to accept of what had already been done.”

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