In 1820 a little-known architect named Thomas Wilson proposed a plan for “a metropolitan cemetery on a scale commensurate with the necessities of the largest city in the world, embracing prospectively the demands of centuries, sufficiently capacious to receive five million of the dead, where they may repose in perfect security, without interfering with the comfort, the health, the business, the property, or the pursuits of the living.” What he proposed, in short, was a massive pyramid, its base covering eighteen acres and its height well above that of St. Peter’s Cathedral—a metropolitan sepulcher, a skyscraper for the dead. —From Colin Dickey’s new Roundtable post, “Skyscrapers of the Dead.” His essay, "Necropolis," on cemeteries and urban spaces, is featured in our Fall 2010 issue on The City. 

In 1820 a little-known architect named Thomas Wilson proposed a plan for “a metropolitan cemetery on a scale commensurate with the necessities of the largest city in the world, embracing prospectively the demands of centuries, sufficiently capacious to receive five million of the dead, where they may repose in perfect security, without interfering with the comfort, the health, the business, the property, or the pursuits of the living.” What he proposed, in short, was a massive pyramid, its base covering eighteen acres and its height well above that of St. Peter’s Cathedral—a metropolitan sepulcher, a skyscraper for the dead.

—From Colin Dickey’s new Roundtable post, “Skyscrapers of the Dead.” His essay, "Necropolis," on cemeteries and urban spaces, is featured in our Fall 2010 issue on The City.