Holy Name Cemetery, the Roman Catholic burial ground in Jersey City, is administered by the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark. With 68 acres on West Side Avenue, it is the city's largest cemetery, having over 267,000 burial plots and mausoleums. Begun in 1866, it was named the Hudson County Catholic Cemetery. In its earliest days, a single-plot cost $10.
The city's early Catholic burials were at St. Peter's Cemetery, founded circa 1849, on land west of Tonnelle Avenue (now Truck Routes 1 & 9). When it became overcrowded for Hudson County's large and growing Roman Catholic population, land on West Side Avenue was donated for a new and much larger cemetery. By the twentieth century, access to St. Peter's Cemetery from Tonnelle Avenue became increasingly difficult, resulting in the Archdiocese curtailing burials in 2003. Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, NJ, maintains the cemetery's records.
Holy Name Cemetery is remarkable for its beautiful monuments and artwork. Joseph Verzi of Catholic Cemeteries comments that the early statuary and elaborately carved stone monuments were the creative work of local artisans. They needed employment, "so they made gorgeous statues for the cemetery." Verzi claims that before the Depression, the cemetery's artwork came from building construction in New York City: "A lot of the fancy artwork for those buildings ended up being shipped over to the cemetery for memorials and markers, some as high as 10 stories; big crosses and statues came from those buildings. It was the only work the artists had." (Rounds, Jersey CITY Magazine)
Several Jersey City mayors are buried in Holy Name, Frank Hague, Mark Fagan, John V. Kenny, and Thomas F.X. Smith. Other notable burials include state senator Thomas Cowan, NJ Supreme Court Justice Marie Garibaldi, and Congresswoman Mary Teresa Norton. Priests and nuns from the city's Roman Catholic parishes and parochial schools are buried in a dedicated section of the cemetery. Civil War and Spanish-American War veterans have been buried there as well.
In 2005, a shortage of burial land at the cemetery resulted in the founding of a granite mausoleum with 1,300 crypts for new interments. A neoclassical two-story granite mausoleum was added on West Side Avenue in 2010. Among the stained-glass windows in the latter are windows from the former St. Boniface Roman Catholic Church in Jersey City, founded in the 1860s. Designed in Austria for the church's German congregation and completed in 1896, they lend a historical feature from the community to the contemporary memorial facility. The cemetery has continued to expand.
Egan, Colin. "The Hudson Underground." Hudson County Magazine Fall 1991:37-40.
Rounds, Kate. "Who Said You Can't Take It With You?" Jersey CITY Magazine. Fall/Winter 2016/17:70-71
Zinsli, Christopher. "The History and Diversity of Jersey City's Cemeteries." Jersey CITY Magazine. Fall & Winter 2004/2005.