Tewksbury Hospital opened its doors in 1854, and is one of the oldest institutions in Massachusetts that is still in operation. Records of patients listed in the cemetery are from roughly 1890 – 1933 consisting of over 8,500 burials. The cemetery itself is in need of much repair, as the sheer size (roughly 3 ½ acres) of it is difficult to maintain. Community members have been actively involved since November, 2016 to assist in the restoration of the cemetery to its former state.
As a natural and historic resource, “The Pines” Cemetery stands out as a pristine example of a landscape that once enveloped the Town of Tewksbury and a landscape that was manicured by Tewksbury Hospital for over its 160 year history to maintain the “therapeutic environment” it created for patients and their care. Today, as development encroaches upon the once over 800 acre campus, the cemetery and its surroundings make up a portion of the natural landscape that is left from the historic hospital. Preservation of this site ensures a corridor across Tewksbury and into other neighboring towns along the many trails that cross with the cemetery and the Tewksbury Hospital grounds.
The long-term goal for “The Pines” Cemetery would be to restore the long neglected cemetery to a state that is conducive to visitors, while maintaining it both as a historical resource and a prominent open space for the Town of Tewksbury. The pine bank in which the cemetery is located is already serving as a place for passive recreation and environmental education for visitors to the land surrounding Strongwater Brook.