Bennington Street

Address: Bennington Street (between Swift & Harmony Sts.) East Boston

1838- The Bennington Street Cemetery is one of the earliest planned open spaces in the East Boston community. Founded in 1838, its physical layout and gravemarkers reflect the growth and diversity that has characterized East Boston. The landfill projects of the 1830s and the shipping-associated industries attracted countless laborers to this area. The gravestones and monuments represent their numbers and ethnic backgrounds. Immigrant groups represented here were from Germany, Norway, Ireland, England, Scotland, and New Brunswick. One of the exceptional features of this cemetery is the number of epitaphs inscribed in a foreign language. For example, of all the legible stones, eleven have inscriptions written in German. In addition to detailing the growth of the immigrant community, the markers also recount the process of nation-building and the role East Bostonians played in it. Local participation in the Civil War is illustrated by the thirty-seven marble markers commemorating members of the Massachusetts Infantry, Navy, Cavalry, and Artillery. In addition, there is one free-standing G.A.R. Post 23 monument and two headstones commemorating World War I veterans. The Bennington Street Cemetery has also served the East Boston community as an outdoor gathering place. By the late nineteenth century, there were only a few originally intended open spaces still in existence in East Boston. On a given Sunday afternoon, people would gather in the nicely shaded landscape of the Bennington Street Cemetery to picnic with their families, pay respects to loved ones, and enjoy the ocean breezes which came directly off the Harbor.