Spirits Alive Happenings

Upcoming Cemetery Events

Spring is finally here and that means getting the cemetery ready for the season! We're also kicking off our photography and conservation projects for the year, so stay tuned for more dates.

Gravestones of Mid-Coast and Downeast Maine

Tuesday, May 9
7:00pm to 8:30pm
Thomaston Historical Society, Thomaston, ME

Two centuries ago, slate and marble gravestones were hand-carved by local stone-cutters. The Portland shop of Bartlett Adams was the first successful business of its type in Maine, producing hundreds of gravestones from 1800 to 1828. Some carvers in Adams' shop subsequently opened their own shops in mid-coast and downeast Maine. Join author Ron Romano for this presentation on the grave markers they left behind and see how their designs compare with markers created by the Thomaston carvers of black marble quarried locally. Following the presentation, Ron will autograph his new book, Early Gravestones in Southern Maine: The Genius of Bartlett Adams.

Gardening Day in the Cemetery

Saturday, May 20
8:30am to 12:30pm

Calling all gardeners and those willing to clean up the grounds: If you're available for the morning, or any part of it, we'd love your help with pruning, bark mulching or general clean-up. We will provide refreshments and gardening tools, but please bring your own work gloves, sunscreen, and muscle. Thank you so much for all you do to keep the cemetery looking tidy. Questions? Contact Matt by email or call 207-615-1423.

American Flag Planting in the Cemetery

Tuesday, May 23
12:00pm to 12:30pm

Meet at the Dead House inside the Congress Street gates at noon where we will dole out flags and a list of veteran gravestone locations. It should only take about 1/2 hour, and all of our veterans will have American flags for Memorial Day. Rain date TBD. Just show up, or FMI: email Spirits Alive.

Gravestone Photography Project Continues

May through October

In our 6th year, we continue photographing all of the gravestones in the Eastern Cemetery with our group of intrepid volunteer photographers. If you'd like to get in on it, please read about our process and how you can contribute.

Special Eastern Cemetery Tours Available

May & June

Though regularly-scheduled tours don't start until July 5, we will coordinate specially-arranged tours for you or your group at no extra charge. Email us or phone Ron Romano at 207-761-0187. We can tailor the tour to fit the interests of those who wish to attend.


posted April 28, 2017

Temperance, Prohibition, and the Rum Riot

June 2, 3 & 4, 2017
5:30pm & 6:30pm each night
Suggested Donation: $5/per person

Presented with the Deering Players of Deering High School

This interactive experience will feature actors portraying those who were alive in the era of the Triangle Trade, temperance and prohibition, Neal Dow, and the Rum Riot. The audience will have a chance to participate in the events staged whether singing or humming along to a temperance tune or tossing down imaginary ladles of rum.

The 30- to 40-minute walk down Funeral Lane will start at the main gate and stop here and there to take in the performance. Daylight will illuminate the path, but the ground is a little uneven, and there are few places to stop and sit. Wear layers as you never know what a summer night is like on the breezy hill.

posted April 22, 2017

We Are on Instagram—Follow Us, Please!

Instagram post from December 25, 2016

If you're on Instagram, please follow us! We post images from the Eastern Cemetery as well as from other cemeteries that we visit. We also repost images from our friends and others with beautiful perspectives of burial grounds and cemeteries.

posted December 28, 2016

Bartlett Adams, Stonecutter - BOOK!

We're happy to announce this awesome book on the most prolific artist in the Eastern Cemetery

Ron Romano book

Ron Romano's Bartlett Adams Book

We are excited to celebrate the new book of our friend and faithful volunteer, Ron Romano: Early Gravestones in Southern Maine - The Genius of Bartlett Adams. Books are available for purchase! Find them from your friendly tour guide (tours Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays) or at your favorite bookseller (local and online!)

More information on Bartlett Adams and Ron's tour schedule is available!

posted August 23, 2016

We Love Proper Stone Conservation

Joseph Thompson vs. Mary Ann Floyd

Joseph Thompson — Proper Conservation Techniques Mary Ann Floyd — Improper Conservation Techniques

Proper vs. Improper Conservation Techniques

Stone conservation techniques and materials are ever-evolving with improvements in technology regarding materials used to make repairs and what we learn through experience in monitoring the old repairs of stones. Spirits Alive volunteers and hired Eastern Cemetery conservators make it a priority to keep abreast of the most up-to-date gravestone conservation materials and techniques.

A good example of the work of Spirits Alive does can be seen prominently on Funeral Lane. Joseph Thompson’s marble headstone and base was uprighted, cleaned and mortared into place. The process and material has not altered the stone or damaged it and can be easily removed in the future should someone else need to re-do the repair.

Contrast this stone with that of Mary Ann Floyd right next door. Whoever worked on this stone had good intentions but may have created more problems by using improper materials and methods. In addition to being plain sloppy and ugly, the concrete will prove difficult to remove in order to improve the repair. For the best information on gravestone care and repairs, consult the Association for Gravestone Studies or the Maine Old Cemetery Association.

posted July 19, 2015