It's time to get the cemetery a little gussied up. The Eastern Cemetery cordially invites you inside the gates for some gardening and cleanup. Several beds need weeding, pruning and edging. Some shrubs need to be cleaned out and general removal of plant material that didn't make it through the winter should be done. Please bring whatever tools you may need for the jobs you like to do, but don't bother bringing watering cans! We also have extra tools and gloves we'd be glad to lend out. Meet us at the Dead House inside the Congress Street gate.
It's summer, and that means guided tours through the cemetery! Learn about the types of stones, some of the stories of those who are interred, and some fun facts about burial grounds and funerary customs. The terrain is uneven, the sun can be warm, and the wind can be cool, so wear layers and appropriate footwear. You can pre-register by emailing email@example.com but it's not required. Check the Twitter feed on our website for cancellations due to weather.
Portland’s City Council accepted the Master Plan for the Eastern Cemetery in early June. The City’s Comprehensive Plan has been amended to reflect the policies in the Master Plan that are aimed at effective maintenance and active preservation measures. The Eastern Cemetery has suffered from neglect and vandalism throughout its 344 years history. With the Master Plan in place, Spirits Alive will work with the Public Services Department and follow the priorities outlined therein in hopes of ending the cycle for good. Priorities for next steps to improvement include the Victorian Tool Shed (aka "Dead House") and stone preservation activities. In addition to a complete analysis of the cemetery property, the Master Plan includes the first inclusive history of the cemetery. Details of the plan will be posted on the Spirits Alive website.
We finished Phase 1 last year which was a 4-year-long documentation of the stones on paper. This year we begin Phase 2: documenting the Eastern Cemetery stones with photographs! If you are interested in volunteering to photograph or assisting with photographing gravestones in the cemetery, come learn about how to contribute!
Learn tips and tricks to good gravestone photography and how to upload digital photos to our shared space.
Many headstones in the Eastern Cemetery belong to those we will never know anything about. When entire generations are memorialized together, there is hope that facts will surface in research. A headstone is dedicated to Deacon John and Margaret Phillips as well as 5 of their children. Each is carved with an urn of different style. The inscription of the children's stone is included in Stephen Watson's transcriptions from the late 1800s: "Erected in memory of five children, three sons and two dau'trs of John and Margaret Phillips. John died Nov. 29, 1792, aged 4 months and 10 days. Harriet died Nov. 2, 1805, aged 14 mos. and 13 days. The other three died in infancy." Aren't the urns beautiful? Someone, someday, may have a story to tell us about this family with clues from their beautiful stones.
Help Spirits Alive keep the Eastern Cemetery alive for generations to come and join as a Friend. For only $5 you can help us:
Go to: www.spiritsalive.org/join to take advantage of this offer today!