Frequently asked questions
Q. Where can I find the Headless Horseman, Katrina Van Tassell, and Ichabod Crane?
A. Washington Irving is reputed to have populated his short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” with fictional characters patterned after local residents, some of whom are now interred in the colonial-era burying ground that surrounds the Old Dutch Church. For a self-guided tour, purchase a copy of Tales of the Old Dutch Burying Ground online, or at the museum shop at Philipsburg Manor historic site across Route 9 from the church. Irving himself is buried at the southern end of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, overlooking the Old Dutch Church and its burying ground.
Q. The Old Dutch Church and its burying ground are not part of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery?
A. Though not marked by a distinguishable border, they are in fact a separate property. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, a non-sectarian cemetery of about 90 acres, surrounds the roughly 3 acre Old Dutch Burying Ground and church. The Old Dutch Burying Ground and Old Dutch Church belong to The Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns, located at 42 North Broadway in Tarrytown. That building, too, is historic, dating to 1837. The congregation uses both locations, so please be respectful of services and ceremonies.
Q. Why haven’t you listed Henry David Thoreau, William Ellery Channing, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, and Bronson Alcott among your famous burials?
A. Thoreau, Channing, Hawthorne, Emerson, and the Alcotts are buried in a newer Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.
Q. Are tour groups permitted in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and the Old Dutch Burying Ground?
A. Both grounds are open to the public, but groups should make appropriate arrangements in advance. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery’s office, 914-631-0081, may be contacted Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., except major holidays. For the Old Dutch Church and its burying ground, contact The Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns, 914-631-4497. A small parking area is located just inside Sleepy Hollow Cemetery’s south gate, adjacent to the Old Dutch Church. Be aware that the gates are closed and locked at 4:30 p.m. In both properties, please be respectful of funerals and those who are visiting loved-ones. At the Old Dutch Church, please be respectful of services and ceremonies.
Q. What other historic sites are nearby? Where can I find lodging and meals?
A. There’s so much to see and do that we’ve compiled an extensive visitors guide and calendar of local events. You can also view or download short versions in PDF format from our tours, news & events page.
Q. What plantings are permitted at the cemetery?
A. Contact the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery office at 914-631-0081 for information on what may be planted in your lot. Only a lot’s owner may arrange for plantings or other memorials.
Q. How do I find information about family lots or trace genealogy?
A. Contact the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery office during office hours with inquiries on family lots or interment information on specific individuals. Inquiries regarding interments at the Old Dutch Burying Ground should be directed to The Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns, 914-631-4497. If you seek more detailed information for your family history, see our list of government agencies and non-government organizations.
Q. Where can I find a map of the cemetery?
A. You have two options. We offer free legal-sized, black-and white maps of our 90 acres—perfect for a short, self-guided tour to 8 major figures in the cemetery. Pick up a copy at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery office during business hours. On weekends and holidays find free maps in literature boxes outside the cemetery office and at the cemetery’s south gate adjacent to the Old Dutch Church. For a more detailed experience, purchase our enhanced map at the cemetery office, over the Internet from Sleepy Hollow Gifts, or at the Philipsburg Manor museum shop across the street from the cemetery’s south gate.
Q. Is stone rubbing permitted in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery or the Old Dutch Burying Ground?
A. No, rubbing is not permitted in either location. Many of the oldest stones have fragile surfaces that are easily damaged by rubbing.
Q. May I take photographs?
A. Certainly. We ask only that you be respectful of funerals and those who are visiting loved-ones. Photography for publication or commercial use must be arranged in advance with cemetery superintendent Andrew Cupak, 914-631-0081.
Q. It looks like a walking trail and park border the cemetery. What are they and can I visit them?
A. Across the Pocantico River from the southern end of the cemetery is the village of Sleepy Hollow’s Douglas Park. North and east are two New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation properties: Rockefeller State Park Preserve and the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park. Maps of the Rockefeller Preserve are available on-line and at the park visitors center on Route 117. Maps of the aqueduct are available from Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct and at local stores. If you park a vehicle within the cemetery grounds, keep in mind that our gates are closed and locked at 4:30 p.m.
Q. Can you suggest nearby cemeteries to visit?
A. Our own local favorites are below. We also recommend Permanently New Yorkers by Patricia Brooks, the best guide we know to burials of the famous and infamous in New York state.
- Sparta Cemetery. Located on Route 9 in Scarborough, across the highway from and just north of the Scarborough Presbyterian Church. Burial site of numerous veterans of the American Revolution, and of an itinerant peddlar known as The Leather Man. Owned by Ossining Historical Society, 914-941-0001. Guide book available for purchase at the society’s office or online.
- Dale Cemetery. 104 Havell Street, Ossining, NY, 914-941-1155. Burial place of Samuel Youngs, a schoolteacher and lawyer who may have been a model for the character Ichabod Crane in Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Guide book available for purchase at Dale’s office.
- Kensico Cemetery. 273 Lakeview Avenue, Valhalla, NY, 1-888-KENSICO. Sergei Rachmaninoff, Danny Kaye, Ayn Rand, Lou Gehrig. Map to famous burials available at Kensico’s office.
- Mt. Hope Cemetery. Jackson Avenue and Saw Mill River Road, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, 914-478-1855. Has one of the largest concentrations of Confederate burials north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
- Gate of Heaven. 10 West Stevens Avenue, Hawthorne, NY, 914-769-3672. Baseball player Babe Ruth and mobster Dutch Schulz are buried here. Map to famous burials available at Gate of Heaven’s office.
- Ferncliff Cemetery. 280-284 Secor Road, Hartsdale, NY, 914-693-4700. Celebrities here include Joan Crawford, James Baldwin, Judy Garland, Malcom X and Betty Shabazz, Thelonis Monk, Jam Master Jay, Basil Rathbone, Paul Robeson, and Ed Sullivan.
- Further afield are Woodlawn in the Bronx and Green-Wood in Brooklyn.