PRINCE HALL MYSTIC CEMETERY, ARLINGTON, MA
The Prince Hall Cemetery on Gardner Street in Arlington is steeped in American history. The Masonic Lodge was founded by Prince Hall in Boston in 1776. In 1864, Grand Master William B. Kendall of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge deeded the Gardner Street parcel he had purchased in 1856 to his lodge’s Masonic Order. Black Americans needed a place to bury their loved ones. The property was to be put in trust to be used exclusively as a Masonic burial ground to be known as Prince Hall Cemetery. Records indicate it was in use until about 1897 when for unknown reasons, it fell into disuse and as time passed it was forgotten.
In 1987, the Arlington Historical Society learned of the existence of the cemetery and immediately recognized its historical importance. The Prince Hall Grand Lodge located in Dorchester and the Arlington Historical Society subsequently formed an organization named the Prince Hall Mystic Arlington Cemetery Association which is responsible for its upkeep. The cemetery was restored through donations from the Prince Hall Grand Lodge and by the generosity of the town of Arlington through the town’s sharing its Community Development Block Grant funds. In 1990 the cemetery was rededicated. In 1998, the cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places.