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When Americans Picnicked In Cemeteries - America's First Public Parks

In the 19th century, before many urban areas lacked recreation areas, many people chose to have picnics, and other celebrations, in local cemeteries.

Unfortunately historians say one of the reason picnicking in cemeteries became so popular is because of epidemics like yellow fever racing across the country. Death was a constant to many families, and in cemeteries people could break bread, and "speak", with their family members.

Read more about this strange part of American History on Atlas Obscura.


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When we lived in a small hamlet in the northern Catskills, Mrs.O would take our small children to play in a nearby cemetery. It was a safe quiet place for them to play. Having a county fair in one is a bit odd.
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When I was a kid, my town held the county fair in a very old cemetery, probably because it was next to the football field, which was used for livestock exhibitions and shows. They eventually moved the cemetery and put a school there. I recall sitting on a headstone to eat cotton candy.
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