Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tollgate Cemetery

Tollgate Cemetery, Forest Hills 2007. (Copyright, all rights reserved)

Tollgate Cemetery headstone, 2007 (Copyright, all rights reserved)

After years (generations?) of neglect, the Tollgate cemetery in Forest Hills has finally had some attention paid to it. An Irish-American war veteran memorial now stands in the grounds, and flags can be seen each Memorial Day. The land was bought to serve as a Catholic cemetery in the mid-19th century, and seems to have been forgotten by the Archdiocese soon after it was filled up. Apparently, many graves are now unmarked, and the headstones that remain are either damaged or worn to the point of near-illegibility.

The marker shown above was chosen to point out that not all Boston Catholics during the 1850s were Irish. There are several headstones carved in German. Both northern Protestant and southern Catholic Germans came to Boston, and some of the latter found their final resting place along the railroad tracks in this small plot of land. When it was opened, the area was quiet, but for the trains passing by. Years later, it sat ignored in the midst of a busy traffic hub. Not all Forest Hills cemeteries are created equal.


  1. I grew up in Forest Hills and Went to Parkman School during 1960/70s. There was a a wooden bridge,, Tollgate Bridge, we would use to go across the tracks, or sometimes we would just cut across the tracks a little way up.

    The cemetery was tucked away under the stairs and bridge, forgotten by most. But not everyone. One of our teachers brought a group of us there to teach us how to do grave rubbings ( which we didn't know were bad for the grave back then).

    I loved that little cemetery when I was a child, unfortunately I stopped going there after a classmate was found slumped by a stone there, she overdosed on heroin.

    But,although I moved from that area 39 years ago, I have never forgotten that little cemetery

  2. Does it still have the wrought iron fence around it? Seems like less graves, more spaced out. Perhaps it is only because it is no longer under the bridge