The Harvard Shaker Cemetery

Thirty-five miles west of the Boston Common in the Town of Harvard, Massachusetts, is a cemetery established by the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as the Shakers. The settlement in Harvard, which was the second Shaker community in the colonies, was established in 1769. At its peak in the 1850s, the community had 200 members. By 1890, that number declined to 40.

The first burial in the cemetery occurred in 1792. By the time the cemetery was closed, over 300 members of the Shaker community were buried there.

The Harvard Shaker community purchased the land for the cemetery for $13.12. The men in the community set about building a stone wall around the cemetery, which was completed in November, 1799.

The cemetery is commonly known today as the “Lollipop Graveyard,” because of the cast-iron grave markers. Initially, graves were marked with stone markers. In 1879, the Harvard Shakers replaced the stone markers with the cast-iron lollipop markers.

The lollipop markers were designed by the brothers in the Mount Lebanon Shaker community at New Lebanon, New York, and cost about $1.50 to produce. The Harvard cemetery was the only Shaker Community to convert entirely to the metal markers and is the only Shaker cemetery where the metal markers remain.

The Harvard Shaker Village Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Additional information about Harvard Shaker Community and its burial grounds can be found here: