Recreation Rules and Regulations
Rural or garden cemeteries like Mount Olivet were built during a special movement in funerary history. These were alternatives to the age-old church graveyard tradition brought over from Europe by the original colonists of the 1600's and 1700's. Beginning in the 1830's, new "burying grounds" were generally placed outside of central downtown areas. These were places with winding roads, trees, exotic plants and flowers, complete with picturesque vistas. The visitor could leave behind the mercantile world outside the cemetery gates and enter into the space where he or she could meditate and come into contact with spirituality and truly concentrate.
Aside from the obvious necessity as final resting places for the departed, "rural cemeteries" became important spaces for recreation as well, built at a time when there weren't public parks, art museums, or botanical gardens in American cities. Suddenly, residents had within their reach, large pieces of ground, filled with beautiful sculptures and horticultural art. People flocked to cemeteries for picnics, strolling, and carriage rides. Mount Olivet was no exception.