CCA Summer Business Meeting

On June 8, 2023, the Connecticut Cemetery Association held its summertime business meeting at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Wethersfield and Newington.  The cemetery, designed by Landscape Architect Jacob Weidenmann as a rural cemetery in the tradition of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.  The first burial took place in 1866.  Mary Anne Hawthorne, the cemetery’s Executive Director, former director of the Connecticut Cemetery Association and former President of the New England Cemetery Association, was our host.

Our plan would have us tour some of the notable trees in the heart of the property, guided by Arborist and Connecticut Tree Protective Association member John Kehoe.  Box lunches and salads would then follow with further discussion of arboretums being provided by CCA Suppliers Liaison Doak Marasco of Davey Tree Expert Company.  Despite the remnants of smoke from the Canadian wildfires and reduced attendance, the tour went off without a hitch as did the lunch.  Although it was understood that some didn’t feel comfortable spending extended time outdoors, those who did attend were treated to a great education!  As a bonus, we even saw a small fawn sitting quietly in front of one of the large burial monuments, presumably waiting for its mother to return!

John led the group to many specimen trees within the cemetery, noting the types of trees we were seeing and the history of those species in Connecticut and in

cemeteries in general. Among the trees we saw was a Camperdown elm (aka Scotch or Wych elm) and an Incense cedar.  The Camperdown elm is known for having a broad-rounded crown and is described as a weeping landscape tree.  The tree is, unfortunately, subject to getting Dutch elm disease.  The Cedar Hill Camperdown is a beautiful example of this species of tree.

Another specimen tree we were directed to is an Incense cedar.  Although native to western North America, this aromatic evergreen conifer does well in the east as well.  No serious insect or disease threat apparently impacts this upright-branching, columnar-shaped tree that tends to broaden to a conical shape with age.  Again, Cedar Hill has a magnificent example of the Incense cedar.

Finally, Cedar Hill Cemetery has many notable burials within its borders.  One notable burial located among the trees we viewed is the resting place of Katherine Hepburn, who passed away in 2003 (Hepburn Family Plot, at right).

Many thanks to Mary Anne Hawthorne, John Kehoe, Doak Marasco and the many folks who contributed to the success of this day!

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