In recognition of the social history and landscape architecture of Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, the National Park Service has listed America’s oldest continuously operated animal burial ground in its National Register of Historic Places.
Hartsdale Pet Cemetery and Westchester County government officials will celebrate the designation by unveiling the National Registry plaque on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 1 p.m. near the main gate at 75 North Central Avenue in Hartsdale, New York. The event, which is open to the public, will also recognize the cemetery’s new listing on the New York State Register of Historic Places.
What started as the quiet summer retreat of a prominent Manhattan veterinarian with a compassionate heart made it a prime location for the final resting place of thousands of beloved family pets. Also known as the “Peaceable Kingdom,” Hartsdale is the first pet cemetery to be listed in the National Register. The national designation recognizes Hartsdale’s outstanding landscape design and collection of monuments and works of art.
Since 1896, Hartsdale Pet Cemetery has been the final resting place for pets of every description, including all manner of dogs and cats as well as a number of more exotic pets, including a lion who lived at the Plaza Hotel. The plot-holders have included some of America’s most prominent financial and political figures, musicians, artists, and celebrities of stage, screen, and television.
“The special relationship between Americans and their pets dates to the earliest settlements in the country,” says Carol Shull, Interim Keeper of the National Register. “The addition of Hartsdale Pet Cemetery to the Register is a fitting way to recognize the long-standing and significant role animal companions have played in our nation’s history and culture.”
Some of the more unique treasures at Hartsdale include a 50-ton above-ground mausoleum, the first and largest of its kind, and the famous War Dog Memorial, which was dedicated after World War I and is the first public tribute to honor military working dogs for their bravery and sacrifice.
Hartsdale Pet Cemetery hosts annual public events including pet adoptions, a Blessing of the Animals ceremony, historical walking tours, national Pet Memorial Day, a War Dog Memorial ceremony and a holiday tree lighting ceremony that includes a food donation to the local animal shelters and pet rescue groups. It’s open 364 days a year, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
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