Cemeteries don’t just need to be scary. Some can be inspirational, given the history of the lives of some of the cemetery’s residents. Fort Hill is where freedom fighter and abolitionist Harriett Tubman is buried.
Oct 16 2021 04:10 | Updated Oct 16 2021 08:10
October is the perfect month to see fall colors. It is also the perfect month to spook yourself and Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn does both. Cemeteries don’t just need to be scary. Some can be inspirational, given the history of the lives of some of the cemetery’s residents. Fort Hill is where freedom fighter and abolitionist Harriett Tubman is buried.
As Ithaca College student, Daniella Zelikman writes about her visit to the cemetery in her piece , “[We] weren’t familiar with many of the cemetery’s notable residents so when we found a headstone marked out on our map, we stopped to examine it and learn more about the person’s life. This was how we learned about Thomas Mott Osborne, the warden of Sing Sing Prison turned prison reformer, and John Hardenbergh, a Revolutionary War captain and the founder of Auburn.
The most famous person buried in Fort Hill is Harriet Tubman—the leader of the Underground Railroad and a Union spy during the Civil War. Her headstone is decorated with flowers, pennies, and other mementos left behind by visitors to honor her and the important work she did.”
The history of the cemetery dates back to the 19th century and was built on a fortified village built by the Iroquois Indians of the Cayuga Lake region. There is also a limestone obelisk in honor of their famed chief, Chief Logan.
While this land was the site of Native American burial mounds dating back to 1100 AD, It also includes a late 19th century Gothic-style chapel and is an example of landscape design and the rural cemetery movement.
Findagrave.com has a list of all the famous people buried at this cemetery. You can find the list here.
The recommended duration of a visit to the cemetery is about an hour. But in this season, just taking in the colors of autumn could make for a longer visit.
There are attractions near the cemetery, like the Seward House Museum, which was the home of William Henry Seward, two time New York Governor, who is also buried at the cemetery. Harriett Tubman’s home is nearby also.
Given that Harriett Tubman lived in this region, it is only fitting that the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center & Auburn NY Visitor Center is located here. The beautiful building also hosts some interesting exhibits.
Many restaurants are located in this region, like farm to table Roseadah’s Restaurant, the Auburn Diner and Prison City Pub and Brewery.
Watch a video of erie beauty of the cemetery here: