A Specialist in Cemeteries


Designed and drawn by Benjamin F. Hatheway (1827-1906). The Connecticut Historical Society, 2012.312.45

Some engineers specialize in land surveys, others in laying out highways or railroads. Benjamin F. Hatheway specialized in the design of cemeteries. Hatheway was born in 1827. I’m not sure when he developed his interest in the lovely rural cemeteries that were so popular in the nineteenth century, but he designed a lot of them, in places like Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park, and New Palz, New York, and Dover, New Hampshire. This map shows his plan for Woodlawn Cemetery in Suffield, Connecticut, his hometown. It incorporates curving roads and ponds and to create a park-like setting for the graves. Only a portion of the cemetery is laid out in plots; the rest remained to be developed at the time Hatheway’s map was made, about a year after the cemetery opened in 1872. By this time, Hatheway was living in Stamford, Connecticut, which remained his home for the remainder of his life, and where he is buried—in Woodland Cemetery, one of the beautiful rural cemeteries that he loved so well.

Hatheway’s map of Woodlawn Cemetery is one of over 800 maps that have recently been digitized with support from Connecticut Humanities. To see more maps and learn more about their stories, explore the Connecticut Historical Society’s online catalog.