On the side of a country road, equally sheltered and threatened by towering pines, one will find the “Lollipop Graveyard.”
Whimsically nicknamed for the shape of its over 300 cast-iron grave markers, the graveyard is the striking creation of a forgone society. The surrounding land, which is now dotted with classic New England homes and mini-country estates, used to belong to the first Shaker Village in Massachusetts. The Shakers were a free-thinking religious collective, famous for their doctrines of radical sexual equality, celibacy, and pacifism. Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the movement, initially led the Harvard group, whose population peaked in the 1850s and dropped precipitously by the close of the century.
While the Harvard Shakers may be long gone, nocturnal visits to their graveyard have long been a rite of passage for local youth, and generating various reports of ghost sightings.
Unlike many cemeteries, rambunctious youth are the least of the Lollipop Graveyard’s worries. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy brought down several massive pine trees, damaging some of the graves. The Town of Harvard has since undertaken efforts to restore the affected grave markers and thin the surrounding trees.
Know Before You Go
The graveyard is located on South Shaker Road east of Ann Lees Road and just west of Shaker Road. Drive slowly, as there is no signage, and look for an open field with several hundred white grave markers.