Three tours grace the cemetery's "stage" this year!
Meet at the Congress Street gate of the Eastern Cemetery. Admission is $7, students and elders (62 and up) $4, and children under 12 are free (please have correct change or a check). Tours last about 1 hour and will be canceled if it rains. All funds raised go to Spirits Alive to maintain the Eastern Cemetery. Wear appropriate layers — the wind is always a bit stronger on the hill! Check the tour schedule for dates.
On June 28, all three tours will be given on one day. Special pricing: 2 tours for $12, 3 tours for $18.
Weather permitting. Stoners, those who help on our stone transcription project of transcribing the thousands of stones in the cemetery, are offering trainings on Saturday mornings in the summer. If you have an eye for detail and love filling out forms or playing detective on the whereabouts and inscriptions on old grave markers, we're looking for your help!
Email us if you're interested in attending or just show up! If you're available during the week, let us know.
On May 29, board members Barbara Hager and Barry Hosmer, along with the Portland Museum of Art's associate curator Jessica Routhier, gave a talk about what we do at Spirits Alive, the landscape master plan of the site, and the importance of Charles Codman's art. For more information on the event, see the Rotary newsletter article, "The Spirits Alive, Cemeteries as Open Space and Charles Codman’s Art"
We assume that Charles Codman was born in Boston around 1800. He was a self-taught artist who came to Portland in 1822 as a sign painter. John Neal, the art critic, discovered him in 1828 and lifted him from tradesman to fine artist. Exhibiting in workspaces as well as his apartment above the Bank of Portland, and headlining the first art exhibit at Mechanics Hall on Congress Street, he became well-known for his talents and was eventually commissioned by the governor of Maine. His life ended on September 11, 1842 when he succumbed to tuberculosis.
This man, one of Maine's best and first landscape artists, is buried on the site near the flagpole. His stone, made of marble, has succomed to the elements, so his grave is unmarked. Spirits Alive is raising money to create a replacement stone and would appreciate your donation in any amount!
Our founder, Christina White, tells a funny story of giving a tour to a group of school children. Not long after entering the gates one morning, she gathered the kids into a group to give them some pointers on the site's history. She noticed, one by one, each little nose lifting, eyes darting to examine the looks on each others' faces, and lips slightly curling in a tight grimace. "Ewwww. What's that smell?" Christina chose not to egg them on with tales of mouldering remains, but to give them the truth: "oh, that's Shipyard Brewing. They're making beer!" We thank Shipyard for supplying us with non-alcoholic refreshments for our volunteers as well as giving the cemetery that curious aroma.
Help Spirits Alive keep the Eastern Cemetery alive for generations to come and join as a Friend. For only $25 a year ($40 for families, $15 for students or elders), you can help:
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