At 11:30 on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25 there will be a memorial ceremony for the dead who lie buried in the Prince Hall Cemetery on Gardner St. Members of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Dorchester will officiate, and there will be brief addresses by the Grand Master of the Lodge and by the President of the Arlington Historical Society. The public is invited. The cemetery on Gardner St. is near the intersection with Norcross St.
This cemetery represents an interesting story in American history. The Masonic Lodge was founded by Prince Hall in Boston in 1776. In 1864, Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge deeded the Gardner St. parcel to his lodge’s Masonic Order. Black Americans needed a place to bury their loved ones and the property was to be put in trust to be used exclusively as a Masonic burial ground to be known as Prince Hall Cemetery.
Records indicate that it was in use until about 1897 when for unknown reasons it fell into disuse, and as time passed it was forgotten. In 1987, the Arlington Historical Society learned of the existence of the cemetery and immediately recognized its historical importance. The cemetery was restored and added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Arlington Historical Society
The Arlington Historical Society, with offices in the Smith Museum, hosts a yearly lecture series as well as offering individual and group tours of the historic Jason Russell House. Through its education and outreach program, the Arlington Historical Society welcomes school classes and scout groups to explore life in colonial America.
Membership in the Society includes: Free admission to the Jason Russell House, Smith Museum, and the Historical Lecture Series; a discount on items purchased at The Museum Shop; a subscription to our newsletter “Menotomy Minutes”. For information on joining the Arlington Historical Society, see our Membership Page.
Mass Humanities Grant Helps Fund Our Collections Research
Thanks to a Mass Humanities Research Inventory Grant, we were able to inventory the Winn Family Papers Collection. A finding aid is available here.
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