The Gardens is a Special Place to Honor and Remember the People You Love.

  670 Baker Street, Boston, MA

(617) 325-0186

Established 1873

We Will Be Celebrating

Our 150th Anniversary

at Every Event in 2023

Save the Dates!

History of Creating

The Gardens at Gethsemane

In March 1871, the Association of the Evangelical Lutheran Church for Works of Mercy was chartered to operate the Martin Luther Orphan's Home. Its members were the German Lutheran parishes of Boston.


The idea for an orphan's home did not originate from pastoral leadership but rather from a Roxbury parishioner named Gottlieb Burkhardt.

Gottlieb Burkhardt was a German immigrant who made a vow, upon reaching America, that if he became wealthy, he would distribute "God's" wealth to the poor.


When his Roxbury brewery started making money he began to help his neighbors and fellow parishioners.

Gottlieb called on Rev. William Passavant of Pittsburgh to help him organize an orphanage in Boston. On Nov. 10, 1870 Passavant and the Boston pastors met to survey several sites of land and form an association.

Brook Farm, once the site of a famous utopian transcendentalist community, was soon chosen as the optimum site and Gottlieb bought the land with a partial mortgage.


After time was allowed for "God to show that His will lay behind the institution," the Home was dedicated on October 3, 1872. The mission of the home was to raise orphans and half-orphans in a Lutheran home where they would learn the "true Word of God" and be confirmed in the Lutheran Church.

Source: Simmons University


In 1873, 150 years ago, according to Gottlieb Burkhardt's wishes, Gethsemane Cemetery was created.

Now known as The Gardens at Gethsemane, we have continued to honor Gottlieb Burkhardt's wishes and Philosophy.

Resting Place of Gottlieb F. Burkhardt

Link - History and Future of The Gardens

The Gardens Cemetery is nestled within the 179 acre Historic Brook Farm in Boston, Massachusetts. John Elliot preached to the Native Americans on Pulpit Rock. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne spent summers here. We are also on the site of Camp Andrews, a civil war training grounds for the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry. A cannon from the USS constitution placed at the cemetery in 1932 commemorates all Veterans.

In 1870, Gottlieb F. Burkhardt, a German immigrant and wealthy Boston brewer, purchased the Brook Farm property, and in 1871 formed a corporation called the “Association of the Evangelical Lutheran Church for Works of Mercy”. He did this to provide a temporary home for orphan children and aged, weak and helpless persons, and to establish a cemetery. The cemetery was laid out and officially named Gethsemane Cemetery in March of 1873.

From its inception, the cemetery has been (and remains) non-sectarian, and has no religious or residential requirements.

In the fall of 2002, Alan J. MacKinnon, CCE & current President, joined with loving and caring people from the community and formed a non-profit organization which purchased the cemetery from the Lutheran Social Services of New England. Mr. MacKinnon started his career at Gethsemane Cemetery in Boston over 33 years ago, first as grounds foreman for 5 years, then as general manager for 7 years.

Alan is designated as a Certified Cemetery Executive and is a graduate of the International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association University. He is currently one of five in the entire state of Massachusetts and has served as Secretary/Treasurer on the board of the Massachusetts Cemetery Association.

G. F. Burkhardt's Brewery

One of the first German breweries in the Stony Brook Valley, the Burkhardt Brewery opened in 1850. Gottlieb Burkhardt's brewery was soon producing one hundred thousand barrels of beer a year with four kinds of ale and four kinds of lager. In 1870, he bought the Brook Farm property, the site of the famed Transcendentalist experiment in communal living located in West Roxbury. In 1912, in partnership with the Red Sox, the Burkhardt Brewing Company

(by that time run by the founder's son) brewed Red Sox Beer and Pennant Ale. The Sox won the World Series that year. (Coincidence?) In 1920, in order to keep up the business during Prohibition, the Burkhardt Brewery switched to producing cereal, but it eventually succumbed and closed in 1929.

Happy Lunar New Year!

2023 is the Year of the Rabbit

Bernard's Restaurant, Chestnut Hill

George and Alan from Bernard's

Groundhog Day

We have our own resident Groundhogs, but we couldn't catch them to ask about how long winter will last

Happy Valentine's Day to our

Friends and Family at The Gardens

Laughing Moon Chocolates from Stowe, Vermont. If you haven't tried them,

here is a link to their website.

Link -

This Valentine's Day Hold

Your Valentine A little Tighter

Holiday and New Year Gathering

Close to 200 people enjoyed great food, music and conversation.

Toys for our Families 

at the Holiday Gathering.

Thank you Maria from Kids R Kids.

A Holiday Gift for Kelvin

This year Alan took Kelvin to Puerto Rico to see his family for the holidays.

While in Puerto Rico, visited

some of their beautiful cemeteries

Our St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner is coming up soon.

Building Relationships with

our Business Colleagues -

Funeral Directors, Monument Dealers and Local Cemeteries in Boston Area.

Sleeping on the job?

Even with 33 Years of Experience,

Alan Attends the ICCFA Conferences Regularly to Keep up with the Latest Trends and Practices in our Profession.

Three Nominees of Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Two of our friends Bishop John and Bishop Nicholas

are up for a very important position

overseeing North America

Good bonding time for the crew

during lunches together

Eunice's favorite Birthday meal. Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes.

Highlights of 2022

From Beginning

to End of the Year

Nature-Love All Animals

Cremation Association of North America (CANA) Getting Back to the Conferences

Barbara Kemmis, Executive Director, CANA and Alan

Rob Espinoza, Assistant Manager,

Starts New Position at The Gardens

Another Article in the

American Cemetery &

Cremation Magazine

Preparing your Cemetery Grounds for Spring

Missy Not Feeling Well

She's 13 years old and never missed a day of work.

Alan and Rob Went to the

Mob Museum While Attending the

International Cemetery, Cremation

and Funeral Association (ICCFA)

Annual Conference

Pasquale's New Mausoleum


with Solar Powered Pump

Watch the Video - Click Below

18th Annual Easter Sunrise Service

9th Annual Blessing of the Bikes

Demetri Singing Click Below

New Tool Cat and Cemetery Truck

Our New Work Truck

is a Chick Magnet

Alan Backed into a Headstone -

No Damage to the Headstone,

and the Car Has Been Fixed

Another Successful Memorial Day

Honoring Veterans who made the Ultimate Sacrifice

Frigid Casket Lowering Devices

Came to Service our Equipment

and Provide Some Training.

First Ever Rib & Brisket Truck on Father's Day - 275 Meals in 4 Hours

We Created Three New Gardens

Hillside Garden

On a gentile hill as you enter the cemetery, this garden includes pond and waterfall views.

The Terrace

High upon a hill overlooking woodlands and meadows just above the pond and 9 waterfalls.

Pond View Garden

With Koi Pond, 9 Waterfalls and Hidden Patio

Another Successful Vegetable Garden For Our Friends and Families

The Gardens Continues to

Own, Operate and Maintain

The Charles Sumner Bird Cemetery,

Formerly the East Walpole Cemetery,

in Walpole and Norwood, MA.

Found Some Old Bottles

Another Green Funeral Conference in Albuquerque

and Alan Speaking on a Panel.

National Funeral Directors Association

(NFDA) Conference

Continuing to Learn Best Practices

Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association (MFDA)

President John Bresnahan,

C.R. Lyons and Alan

Holy Resurrection Chapel at Night

Attended 8 Festivals and Bazaars at Some of the Churches We Help Support.

Daughters of the American

Revolution Came to Host a

Class of Memorial Cleaning.

Scouts Flag Retirement Ceremony

Giving Back

Helped Many Organizations

with Holiday Meals

The Gardens Mission is

to honor the customs and traditions of our families and recognize these as an important part of healing, to provide exceptional service, and to respect each individual resting place with immaculate care.

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The Gardens Cemetery
670 Baker Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02132

phone: 617-325-0186

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