In 1893, Cedar Grove Cemetery Association acquired the 250-acre Durkee farm in South Flushing, Queens, to establish a nonsectarian burial ground. A portion of the property had formerly been the Spring Hill estate of colonial politician Cadwallader Colden, whose 1763 home was used as the cemetery’s offices until it was demolished in 1930. Colden is believed to have been buried in the 18th century Willett Family Burial Ground that was near Colden’s home on the Spring Hill estate.
When Union Cemetery in Brooklyn was sold in 1897, the remains of approximately 30,000 individuals were reinterred in a 10-acre plot at Cedar Grove Cemetery. In 1909, some of Cedar Grove’s property was used to establish a separate cemetery for the Jewish community, Mount Hebron, which grew to occupy much of Cedar Grove’s original grounds. Now comprising 50 acres, Cedar Grove is a multi-ethnic cemetery that is the final resting place for over 65,000 individuals of diverse nationalities and religions. Mount Hebron, with over 217,000 interments and 200 acres, has become one of New York City’s largest Jewish cemeteries. It is home to a number of famous figures, including photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt, comedian Alan King, and mob boss Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, and the Yiddish Theatrical Alliance is among the hundreds of Jewish societies who have burial grounds there. Mount Hebron is also the intended resting place of entertainer Barbra Streisand, who built a family mausoleum there in the 1990s.
Sources: Cedar Grove Cemetery; Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s (NYPL); Genealogical Notes of the Colden Family in America (Purple 1873), 8-10; “City Road Tracks to Flushing,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb 4, 1894; “Twenty Thousand Bodies,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle Jan 18, 1898; Wolverton’s 1891 Atlas of Queens County, Long Island, Pl. 29; Hyde’s 1913 Atlas of the Borough of Queens 3:Pl 19; “Colonial Governor Lies in Unmarked Grave,” Long Island Daily Press Aug. 29, 1935; Mount Hebron Cemetery; Fairchild Cemetery Manual (1910), 30, 92; The Jewish Communal Register of New York 1917-1918, 336; The Story of Yiddish (Karlen 2008), 112-113; “Yiddish Theater Bids Farewell to Shifra Lerer,” New York Times, Mar 15, 2011; OpenStreetMap.