Cedar Hill Cemetery is a fine example of the rural cemeteries that were all the rage in the mid nineteenth century. It was opened in 1854 and quickly became to the place to be buried if you were anyone of consequence in Connecticut. Today, it is a great place to go for a Sunday afternoon drive. The entrance is off of route 314 which is a continuation of the Berlin Turnpike route 15, right over the Hartford city line from Wethersfield.
During the week, the office will be open. On the weekend you can get a map and information right straight ahead on the main drive in. There is a cell phone audio guide that you can listen to about many of the important monuments in the cemetery.
There are many famous people buried here but without doubt the most popular is the Great Kate, the magnificent actress Katherine Hepburn. She is buried here along with her brothers and sisters and parents. She is buried alongside her brother who died at the age of 16 when she was only 14 years old. The family marker is not at all what you would expect. It is a large boulder, rumored to have come from the family beach home in Old Saybrook CT. It is located under some over handing trees and is not the easiest monument to find. It is located on the back side of section 4.
Continue going around section four and on your right you will see a large pink colored monument with the name Morgan on it. This is the JP Morgan monument. The famous banker was born in Hartford and was one of the foremost entrepreneurs of his day. At the time of his death in 1913 he was worth the equivalent of 1.2 billion dollars in today money. It is a very impressive monument but for all his wealth, it isn’t the most impressive monument in the cemetery, frankly not even close.
One of the most recognizable buildings in Hartford CT is the Colt Building. Samuel Colt is also buried here at Cedar Hill Cemetery. His monument is also pink and it is a show stopper. Tall with an amazing statue on the top, it is obvious that it was built to impress.
Gideon Wells who was Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy is buried here at Cedar Hill as well. His stone is large but there are a lot of people buried in this plot. The foot stones only have the initials of the deceased on them so it is hard to tell exactly which one belongs to Gideon.
Close by his grave is the monument that belongs to Civil War general Griffin A. Stedman, simple as befits a fallen hero. General Stedman died at the Battle of Petersburg.
One of the more interesting stories about the people buried here is that of Isabella Beecher Hooker, the half sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe. To find out what that interesting story is, plan a visit to the cemetery and take the cell phone tour.