Incorporated in 1860
Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery Company is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to the burial of persons of all denominations. The cemetery is owned by its lot holders and is managed by a volunteer board of directors. We employ a superintendent, secretary-treasurer and 3 full-time grounds keepers. We are committed to provide excellent and compassionate service to our lot holders and strive to maintain and beautify the cemetery grounds.
In the 1800s, Yarmouth was a thriving seaport welcoming ships, sailors and passengers from all over the world. The town’s economy was booming. With prosperity came the need to develop the business area, a main street. At that time, the dead were buried in what is now Frost Park and in a churchyard behind what is now the Izaak Walton Killam Library.
Yarmouth Free Discussion Club
A group of townsmen raised the following question about the graveyards: “Is it sound policy, or compatible with reason, to continue burying the dead in the center of the town?” In a unanimous decision, the group decided “that the public graveyard is situated where it is likely to be surrounded by a dense population, and as the existence of a burying ground in such a locality may be considered a grave obstacle as regards health and convenience; that therefore from motives of expediency and humanity, the practice of burying the dead in the aforesaid graveyard ought at once to be discontinued.”
The land selected for the new cemetery was an 11 acre section “in back of town” known as “the mountain”. Over the years, the Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery Company has acquired neighboring property.
Today, the cemetery occupies approximately 40 acres. As you approach the main gate on Parade Street, you will be impressed by the tranquil park like setting. Elm, maple, beech, chestnut, dogwood and evergreen trees greet the visitor. Flowering shrubs and over 1,700 begonias provide picturesque seasonal color.
Near the main entrance, you will see the Ritchie Memorial Chapel, a gift of David Alexander Ritchie, a native son of Yarmouth who moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts at the age of 21. He became a prominent businessman in the manufacture of sheet metal products. An inventor at heart, Mr. Ritchie developed and patented the process for making spiral pipe. Although he lived away for most of his life, he never forgot his home town. Through his generosity, construction began on a mortuary chapel in 1921. The chapel design was inspired by the Story Chapel, Mount Auburn Cemetery of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The chapel was dedicated two years later in 1923. Mr. Ritchie died 25 March 1925. His memorial service was held in the chapel that bears his name.
David Alexander Ritchie
As you enter the chapel, you will be captivated by the light streaming through the stained glass and hand painted windows. In front of the altar, you will notice a wooden platform in the floor. Here you’ll find another of Mr. Ritchie’s inventions, a water powered hydraulic lift used to raise and lower caskets from the vault below the chapel. Sit a while, relax and enjoy the tranquility.
An electronic carillon peals the time every quarter hour. With the aid of technology, the carillon bells can be programmed to chime music of the season.