The United States' largest tax-funded cemetery
Hart Island is the largest burial ground in America. Most people whose relatives immigrated through New York have a relative buried here. It has been used for many public purposes, but is now mostly abandoned except for the daily burial detail.
Hart Island was purchased by New York City in 1869 and is the largest burial ground in America. Everyone whose family immigrated to New York during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries probably has a relative buried here. Fifty percent of the burials are children under five.
Over the years it has been used for many public purposes, but is now mostly abandoned except for the daily burial detail. Many of the buildings associated with institutions that were founded here are now being dismantled. For instance, Phoenix House was started on Hart Island and moved in 1976. This is the most successful drug rehabilitation program. The building was abandoned and now has been torn down. A NIKE missile base is also on Hart Island as well as buildings from the Boys Workhouse. (2002, updated October 2006)