Cypress Grove Cemetery
Cypress Grove Cemetery became the first cemetery built to honor New Orleans volunteer firemen and their families. It was made possible in 1838 by New Orleans philanthropist Stephen Henderson whose estate left property to the Firemen’s Charitable & Benevolent Association. The charitable association sold this property to fund the purchase of the cemetery site at the end of Canal Street and the former banks of Bayou Metairie.
The Firemen’s Charitable & Benevolent Association established Cypress Grove Cemetery in 1840. Architect Frederick Wilkinson patterned the grand entrance pylons and lodges after Egyptian ceremonial architecture. Crowning this imposing entrance was the motto: “Here to their bosom mother earth, take back in peace what thou has given, and, all that is of heavenly birth, God in peace recall to heaven.”
Shortly after opening the cemetery, the remains of volunteer firemen entombed elsewhere were moved to Cypress Grove. Volunteer fire companies built elaborate multi-vault tombs to enshrine their fallen members. The vaults of Perseverance Fire Co. No. 13 are erected at the entrance of Cypress Grove. This tomb was designed by architect John Barrett in 1840. The twin tombs of the Philadelphia Fire Engine Co. No. 14 and that of the Eagle Co. No. 7 were erected in the 1840’s.