History of Land Development in Waltham, Mass.
The South Side →
The western border of the Kent Farm was along the back yard line of the houses along the east side of today's Flood Street. In 1824, the Boston Manufacturing Company bought about 15 acres of the Kent Farm from James C. Kent (MLR 252/290 and 291). It stretched about 600 feet along today's Calvary Street, a little less than the length of the cemetery that borders on the south side of Calvary Street, today. It also stretched 618 feet south from Calvary Street along its west side (the western boundary of the Kent Farm) and 843 feet south from Calvary Street along its east side, and included the land between the river and Calvary Street. This land was opposite the BMC's recently established bleachery complex on the north side of the river. There was a dam across the river at this point, originally established by Governor Christopher Gore for a paper mill, and later used by the Waltham Cotton and Wool Factory. Along with the land for the mill on the north side of the river, there was an approximately one-acre lot on the south side of the river that went with the dam. The BMC had already acquired this small lot when it bought the land of the Waltham Cotton and Wool Factory in 1819 (MLR 226/367). Later, the BMC sold the portion of the 15-acre lot south of Calvary Street to John Joseph Williams, the "Bishop of Boston", in 1866, to form the initial part of Calvary Cemetery (MLR 982/442), under the guidance of Father Bernard Flood. However, the BMC continued to own the strip of land between the river and Calvary Street, just north of the cemetery, and, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, there were some buildings belonging to the bleachery on it, as well as a bridge across the river connecting it to the bleachery.
This initial part of the cemetery contained an interesting hill formation called "Indian Hollow". It was shown on a map of Waltham as the area stood in 1738, drawn by Edmund L. Sanderson in the 1930s, and mentioned in an article that appeared in the Waltham Sentinel in 1861. At that time it was covered by a grove of imposing Cedar trees, and the 1861 article mentioned that native Americans still camped there at times in the summer. Whether or not there is a connection, there was a village of native Americans a little down river at Nonantum, in Newton, where John Elliot first had success preaching to them, in 1646.
Also in this section of the cemetery are the grave stones and remains from the original Catholic cemetery in Waltham. The original Catholic church in Waltham, a small wooden one, was built in 1830-1831 on Church Street, between the street and today's McDevitt Middle School. A cemetery was established adjacent to the church. However, even though the church burned down in 1848, the cemetery continued to be used. A replacement Catholic church was not built in Waltham until 1863, when St. Mary's first opened on School Street. In 1947, the City of Waltham had the gravestones and remains moved from the Church Street cemetery to this section of Calvary Cemetery in order to make room for a new technical high school on Church Street. The stones were not remounted vertically, but laid on the ground horizontally, and, over the years, had become covered by sod. In 2015, a successful volunteer effort was mounted to reveal the headstones.
According to Waltham Rediscovered, the next addition to the cemetery was made in 1879, under the guidance of Father Timothy J. Brosnahan, when 17 acres were added. This was the section south and west of the initial part, and bounded by the Newton line, High Street, Cedar Street, and John Street. In 1876, this land had been sold by Joel H. Fuller to Charles D. Elliott (MLR 1384/14). Joel H. Fuller was Deacon Joel Fuller's grandson. The land had previously been undeveloped, but, in 1873, Fuller had submitted a subdivision plan for streets and house lots (Plan Book 23, Plan 33). At the time the land was sold to Elliott, there was a mortgage on it by Eliza J. Fuller with the Newton Savings Bank (MLR 1272/417). Eliza Fuller was Deacon Joel Fuller's daughter-in-law, and Joel H. Fuller's mother. The land was probably part of the Captain Joshua Fuller Farm in the 1700s. Charles Elliott died soon after the sale, and the bank foreclosed on the property. The bank then sold the property to John Lamb in 1879 (MLR 1515/296), who quickly resold it to John Joseph Williams, the Archbishop of Boston (MLR 1521/95).
The final 25 acres were added to the cemetery in 1903. In that year, Henry Breck, Jr., sold a portion of his farm to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston (MLR 3020/212). This enlarged the cemetery east along Calvary Street to North Street (in Newton), and south into Newton.
Henry Breck, Jr., had already subdivided the land along the part of Calvary Street east of the BMC lot, and along Farwell Street, and had sold off house lots. See, for example, Lot No. 10 in his plan in Plan Book No. 16, sold to Mary and Patrick Munster in 1870 (MLR 1105/484), which is also shown on the 1875 map, but mislabeled as "Munson".