As reported in the Westerly Sun, the burial site spans three distinct eras of New England cemetery design. With roots as a family burial ground beginning in 1754, the site became the county’s initial public nonsectarian cemetery in 1849, as nearly two dozen local families banded together and formed a corporation. Today, the cemetery's bucolic garden setting, its field stone walls and a remarkable collection of monuments and mausoleums, are evocative of the entire span of history in the historic seafaring town of Stonington, which was a critical port in the triangular trade with the West Indies and England, and for 19th century whaling and sealing operations.
In the process, the cemetery expanded to its current 22 acres, with prominent 19th-century burials including the ship Captain , designer and explorer Nathaniel B. Palmer, whose Stonington residence has achieved National Historic Landmark status. Palmer is recorded as the first American to set foot on the continent of Antarctica, and the Palmer Peninsula and Palmer Land there were named in his honor. In recent decades, the cemetery, which provides the final resting places of veterans of conflicts from the Revolutionary War onward, is both a memorial park and serves as a valued community asset.
In addition to Stonington Cemetery, the team from R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc. also achieved National Register listing for the Cypress Cemetery in Old Saybrook and the Connecticut Valley Hospital Cemetery in Middletown, as well as Connecticut State Register designation of the Northfield Cemetery in Stamford