In 1904, the City Goverment of Manila finalized plans for the first garden cemetery of Manila and purchased around 125 hectares of land in the Sta. Cruz area with the intended purpose of providing burial grounds for the poor and with no distinction in terms of religion. The American city planner, Daniel H. Burham, made the proposal for a heart shaped pattern cemetery cut in the middle by an avenue although the actual construction turned the heart into a leaf.
The first burials were done around April 27, 1904 and then, by August 31st of the same year, there were already 288 burials done. Forty-four American teachers, who were among the more than 900 who volunteered to teach English to Filipinos in the years 1901 and 1902, are buried in the North Cemetery.
From September 1, 1904 to August 31st, 1905, the number of burials grew to around 2,685 burials. From 1904 to 1919, the North Cemetery burials reached a total of 70,861 burials exceeding the combined total of burials of Binondo, Sampaloc and La Loma cemeteries for the same period.
Photo: North Cemetery Driveway circa 1913.