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  • Writer's pictureAbby Brenker

The History of Maple Grove Cemetery in Queens

This is Maple Grove Cemetery in Queens, New York. It was established in 1875 as a Victorian-era rural cemetery. At the time this was a densely wooded region, now it’s right in the middle of Queens. Before the surrounding city emerged, Maple Grove was said to have views of both Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. The more modern memorial park section was opened in 1943.

The cemetery is home to about 83,000 internments across both of its sections, and a beautiful fountain near the center. The lodge building was built in 1876. Notable burials include George Washington Johnson, Lavern Baker, John Suptin, and former enslaved child Millie Tunnell.

One of my favorite residents of Maple Grove is the turtles. These lovely reptiles hang out at the fountain and lake in the center of the cemetery, which is located in Queens, New York. Maple Grove acts as a green space for local residents and turtles alike.

With its shaded walking paths and scenic water features, Maple Grove stands out against the city it’s surrounded by. Maple Grove has fields and fields of flat graves with built-in pots. These are permanent flower pots. This is especially helpful if the cemetery has rules against leaving flowers or other ornaments.

Maple Grove is home to some incredible trees, including a Red Oak tree that’s over 200 years old and 9 stories tall. The tree has a 55-inch circumference. Also in Maple Grove are twin beech trees planted by Jacob Riis at the grave of his wife, Elizabeth Riis. They were planted in 1905. Jacob Riis was known for his photojournalism work meant to expose the lower class's harsh living and working conditions.

Maple Grove has a magical element to it. It is truly one of my favorite places to visit in New York City.

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