What’s so great about Green-Wood Cemetery?
In 1860s, it was second only to Niagara Falls as the United States’ most-visited tourist attraction. Today, this is Trip Advisor’s top-ranked thing to do in Brooklyn. Why this enduring popularity? It’s basically an enormous, beautiful park with a lot see — very old trees, stunning architecture, sweeping views, and interesting birds, if you’re into that. Additionally, its historical significance, celebrity residents and annual events are unparalleled in this country.
Before it was a cemetery and Brooklyn was just another part of Long Island, the biggest and bloodiest battle of the American Revolution took place on these grounds. The 1776 Battle of Brooklyn was a victory for the British but it didn’t end the war, as they had hoped. The British would control New York until 1783, when the Treaty of Paris was signed and the United States of America was made official.
Rural cemeteries took control from the church and were often non-sectarian. Thanks to New York’s 1847 Rural Cemetery Act, burial grounds became a commercial industry that thrives today. But Greenwood was established as a not-for-profit entity with the hope that families of all income levels and faiths could buy entire plots for future generations in a welcoming environment. That said, most of the interred were white Anglo-Saxon Protestants with money, power or status.