More organized information from the old site will be posted here eventually. Right now, feel free to scroll down the page and check out the items that appeared on the News page:
October 15, 2010 - Big thanks to Harlan Baker of the West End News for writing a nice big article on Kymberly Dakin-Neal of Portland Playback and Brenda Tubby of Acorn Productions, 2 actresses who will portray cemetery residents in the upcoming Walk Among the Shadows event! Harlan is coordinating the actors from Acorn who will work the first week of tours, October 21-23.
The stone transcription project has wrapped up for 2010. We transcribed over 600 stones from April to October. Now the work begins to put that information into digital format. The goal is to completely finish with stone transcription in 2011 and begin the photography phase of the project.
Spirits Alive, with input from the city historic preservation office, has contracted with the Chicora Foundation to create a master plan for the site. This plan will guide caring people on how to maintain and improve the site for generations to come. A community forum will be planned in November 2010.
The September 25th workday was a success! We had some new folks out to mix with the experienced and had an awesome (and very warm) fall morning.
Big thanks to Portland Trails for organizing a Discovery Trek tour through the EC. A big group toured (in spite of the threat from Hurricane Earl) with Doug all around the site on Friday, September 3rd. Thanks to Rachael at Portland Trails for organizing this fun event.
In conjunction with Acorn Productions and Portland Playback, Walk Among the Shadows is back! On October 21-23 and October 28-30, Spirits Alive is hosting the evening tours through the cemetery. Costumed actors will deliver spooky monologues of those who are buried within the gates. Expect the unexpected!
We are fixing the Congress Street fence! Find out what the project is all about. Big thanks to the City of Portland for supporting the endeavor.
We've been out transcribing stones each Saturday all summer long from 8am to 12pm. Please join us! We're finding mysteries to solve, digging down to read entire epitaphs and having a great time learning and sharing. Join us!
Big thanks to the Eagle Scout group who came out and transcribed over 300 stones for us in June and July! You're amazing!
Portland Recreation came out on June 13, 2010 and enjoyed a tour through the site learning about the history of the landscape, the art on the stones, and information on those buried within. Thanks to all of them for hanging in and getting their shoes wet!
June 12, 2010 in the cemetery was misty and foggy, but that didn't stop a group of intrepid souls from gardening around the Mountfort gate area and pruning trees. Thanks to everyone who came out and braved the weather!
A big thanks to Girl Scout Troop 1974 for coming out in the bright sun on May 28, 2010 to plant American flags on the gravesites of veterans. Girls learned about who gave themselves in service to the United States in the Mexican-American War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the Revolutionary War. They did a great job and used their boundless energy to learn something new while doing something good. Special hug to Dianne for arranging for flags and making sure our interred vets were honored in time for Memorial Day.
The first tour of the season was on May 16, 2010! Big thanks to Doug for leading our intrepid group on a gorgeous spring day. Tours will happen through the summer each Sunday at 1:30pm. Come on out!
The Stone Transcription project is continuing its 3rd year in Section E in the back of the cemetery. We've begun to wind our way through the section using a new system of landscape flags to mark our trail. These stones are much older than the ones in Sections A & B and we expect to find some treasures most Saturdays from May to September 2010!
A special thanks to all who came out to plant trees and shrubs on a rainy Saturday morning! May 8, 2010 turned out to be a wet one which was probably good for plants although bad for people who were outside.
April 29, 2010 was the first Green Space Gathering put on by the Parks Commission. Spirits Alive joined other groups who have taken an interest in caring for city open space to meet with the Portland Public Services staff and present what they do. The Department presented its new "Adopt a Spot" initiative to encourage citizens around the city to care for green spaces.
The Portland Daily Sun ran a story, "Postcards from the Hill" on the Earle G. Shettleworth Jr. lecture on March 27, 2010. Perhaps this contributed to the overflow-sitting-room-only crowd at Maine Historical Society for the slide lecture on the "Development of Munjoy Hill." A big thanks for Down Home Cookin' for the yummy coffees!
February 27, 2010 was the day after a terrible storm that resulted in speaker James L. Nelson's power outage at home. He wound up in a coffee shop all day to prepare for the rousing lecture on "Privateering on Casco Bay" which he gave in the Maine Historical Society's Reading Room. The crowd was standing-room only and we learned about such things as letters of mark to the legend of the Dart. Pastries were provided by our friends at Big Sky Bakery! The last lecture in the series will be on March 27 with Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.
February 24, 2010 - the Portland Daily Sun ran an article on James L. Nelson's lecture, "Spirits Alive hosts a privateer party" by David Carkuff.
February 22, 2010 - Barbara Hager gave a talk at the Falmouth Rotary Club on subject of Spirits Alive and what we're doing in the cemetery!
February 12, 2010 - Spirits Alive announces its Twitter account and new Facebook page. Fan and follow us today!
The morning of January 30, 2010 provided a chilly backdrop for the first in the Spirits Alive series of lectures. Emerson Woods Baker II spoke on "Native Americans of Casco Bay" and included some information on their burial practices. We welcomed over 50 people into the warm lecture hall of Maine Historical Society and provided refreshments (Thanks, Mousse Cafe for the coffee and Rite-Aid for the cookies!) and information on Spirits Alive in the community. Next lecture: February 27
October 29 & 30, 2009: Walk Among the Shadows was a huge success! In cooperation with Waynflete School and the City of Portland, young costumed actors portrayed the interred in with the background of an eerie, dimly-lit, gravestone-filled background scenery. Tourists saw and heard stories from infamous, but dead Portlanders. It was great entertainment for the whole family and Spirits Alive raised funds toward the improvement of the cemetery according to its forthcoming master plan! Read Craig Carkuff's article about us in the Portland Daily Sun!
On Saturday, October 17, 2009, Spirits Alive held the last workday of the season. Gardeners spent the morning trimming, pruning, cleaning and tidying the grounds. It was a good time and the grounds look great. Stay tuned for workdays in 2010!
Datleline October 13, 2009: Spirits Alive has received a $10,000 grant from the Davis Family Foundation. This grant will be used in developing a Master Plan for the ancient burial ground on Munjoy Hill. A Master Plan analyses all aspects of the cemetery and places it in its historical context. The completed Plan will be submitted to Portlandâ€™s City Council and, if adopted, will serve as the blueprint for its historic preservation.
On Friday, September 11, 2009 at 12:00 Noon, interested citizens attended a graveyard celebration of Charles Codman's replacement gravestone! Portland Mayor Jill Duson, Maine State Historian Earle Shettleworth, and Portland Museum of Art Curator Tom Denenberg spoke.
Read Liz McMahon's article (351k PDF) about us in the August issue of the Munjoy Hill Observer!
Three tours graced the cemetery's "stage" this summer: Portland's Oldest Burial Ground: The Place, The Times, The People, The Events: Connect the Forest City's past to the present by strolling through the site on this guided tour. Earliest Portland â€“ The Unmarked Past: in 1632, settlers began arriving at the place we now call Portland. No buildings remain standing from that time. The open land of Eastern Cemetery is an appropriate site to learn about some of the events of the 17th and early 18th centuries that occurred within sight of the cemetery while they shaped Portlandâ€™s indomitable spirit. Art & the Elements: a fascinating introduction to the geology of the Eastern Cemetery, including markers and monuments; a brief introduction to early mortuary art (as seen on the stones), and the effects of the environment on the site.
June 2009: The Stoners group has analyzed the data gathered from Section A of the cemetery! A list of prioritized gravestone repair and restoration has been submitted to the city's Historic Preservation commission for review. We expect to begin this project in spring 2010.
The Bayside International Fair & Market on Saturday, June 13, 2009, provided a lovely backdrop for a Spirits Alive table. We exhibited and sold works by Leana Good-Simpson and Jeannine Sullivan while we promoted the work of our little group. We also unveiled the new Spirits Alive scrapbook. It was a great day! Special thanks to Jeannine, Charly and Vivian for their support.
On June 1st, the guys at Maine Memorial installed the third granite bench in the memory of Leana Good-Simpson's son, William Lee Randolph Good. It's located on the hill to the left of the gates on Mountfort Street.
The kickoff of stone transcription in Section A of the cemetery began on May 30. 3 of us worked hard to get almost 2 rows complete. Please plan to join us this summer!
Barbara Hager and Barry Hosmer each gave a spirited talk on what we do at the Portland Rotary Club on Friday, May 29! More details on their talks are in the Rotary Club's Newsletter article, "The Spirits Alive, Cemeteries as Open Space and Charles Codmanâ€™s Art."
May 26 - The Vacationland Guide of the Portland Press Herald featured an article written by Ellen S. Gibson touting the lure of Maine cemeteries. Called "History rests peacefully in Maine cemeteries," the Eastern Cemetery scored its own section and mentioned Barry Hosmer, its landscape architect, and Christina White, founder of Spirits Alive!
May 2 was a gorgeous spring morning in the cemetery as 17 volunteers cleaned, pruned, planted, and communed. Thanks to all who came out, taking time out of their busy schedule to keep this important community space clean and growing.
Spirits Alive was mentioned in the front-page article, "Cleaning Up the City," in the Portland Daily Sun, on Saturday, May 2, 2009, for its volunteer effort to clean up the cemetery and its help to the city in doing so.
Christina did a session with students from the Real School on Mackworth Island on November 18, 2008! They were in the classroom focusing on the stones which included a discussion about iconography and meaning; epitaphs-language and the times; and stone (materials) themselves. The next week she took them to the EC and talked about early "Falmouth," the establishment of burial ground, its evolution. Craig Haimes, the class teacher was very excited and impressed with her presentation and would be happy to recommend us to any school class.
Stoner days in the cemetery were held in October 2008. We've trained about six new transcriptionists, found some new stones, dug up some epitaphs, and had a lot of fun! See photos of Stoners in the cemetery and plan to join us soon!
New Stoners were trained on the art of transcribing information from stones in Section B of the cemetery on Saturday, October 3rd. See photos of the morning here and plan to join us every Saturday in the month for more fun with the Stoner group!
Tours for 2008 have ended, but we thank all of you who came out to learn more about the History of Portland in the stones. If we didn't see you this season, we hope to see you next! Unfortunately, the Portland Trails Discovery Trek tour was canceled, but the Art & the Elements tour on the morning of October 3rd provided crisp, beautiful weather! Special thanks to our intrepid tour guides, Barb, Lisa and Christina for s super tour season!
September 13 provided a beautiful morning in the cemetery for pruning and trimming around the stones as a group of intrepid volunteers made the grounds a little friendlier. Thanks to everyone who came out for the last scheduled workday of 2009.
Botanical markers have begun popping up in the cemetery thanks to a generous donor and some funds from the city of Portland. Stay tuned for a walk through the cemetery and a talk about the foliage there by landscape architect, Barry Hosmer.
On August 9, friends and interested parties gathered for a warm morning inside the gates. Tidying up the grounds as well as watering commenced. Thanks to everyone who came out and to Shipyard for donating sodas!
Thanks to some diligence on the part of Spirits Alive, the cemetery gates will again be opened 7Â days a week by park rangers until Labor Day. They will come before 7AM and lock up at 5PM. Special thanks to 2008 Volunteer of the Year, Cissie. for performing this duty for the past few weeks!
On July 12, volunteers watered a very parched Eastern Cemetery. It's been a dry summer and the appearance of a city water buffalo was like manna from heaven. We welcomed new volunteers as well as the faithful and spent a beautiful morning sprucing up the site for visitors from far and wide. We even welcomed a family from Florida who was on leave from the cruise ship docked in town.
Kai Nalenz of Gravestone Services of New England was in the Eastern Cemetery to repair the stone of 19th century landscape artist, Charles Codman. The stone was unearthed and pieced back together by the conservator. Spirits Alive continues the campaign to raise funds to purchase a replacement stone for Codman and put that new stone in this one's place.
The story of Charles Codman's replacement headstone reached a much larger audience when Tess Nacelewicz' article on Codman's headstone featuring Christina appeared on June 30, 2008 in the Portland Press Herald. Several donations flowed in after this media hit, so we were very happy to have the attention! We're still raising funds, so if you're interested, please donate today!
The morning of June 14 turned out to be a very productive one in the cemetery! A small group of hardy souls trekked jugs of water from the North Star Cafe in a wheelbarrow to the many thirsty plantings on site after the that in the city water buffalo ran out. In the afternoon, tours of the grounds were given in conjunction with Greater Portland Landmarks and their Flag Day celebration at the Observatory.
On May 15 in the Eastern Cemetery, we welcomed friends from the Standard Insurance Company who took the day, as part of the United Way Day of Caring, to transcribe the information from stones in the cemetery. They also cleaned up around the grounds. Thank you so much!
Thanks to all who turned out to hear a spirited history and overview of the work of beloved Maine landscape painter, Charles Codman. Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. delivered a presentation on the life of this young artist and his introduction to the art world by John Neal. Everyone who came to the Maine Historical Society that night donated money towards the replacement of Codman's headstone in the Eastern Cemetery. Stay tuned for more opportunities to give!
The May 10th workday was surprisingly beautiful! The fruits of our labors can be seen at the Congress Street gates where two new shrub beds have been planted and mulched. About 32 folks joined the fun. There were faithful volunteers and new faces. Thanks to everyone who gave of their time and sweat to make the site even more beautiful.
To a large crowd on Sunday, April 20, in the Eastern Cemetery, Spirits Alive presented â€œGhosts of the Revolution." Over 68 Revolutionary veterans, black and white, are interred on the site and on the occasion of Patriotâ€™s Day the tour examined local events leading up to and through the early months of the American Revolution. Small stories as well as momentous events informed our understanding of the 8-year battle. The audience encountered Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who recited â€œThe Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.â€ The heroic post-rider, Israel Bissell and his horse, Duke, made an appearance. Church bells could be heard when Bissell read his call to arms!Â A series of vignettes illuminated the experiences of a Maine regiment comprised of young soldiers who fought in Boston, Saratoga, Bagaduce, and Valley Forge. With Kathleen Harris directing, actors from Deering High School, USM, and our community played the parts in and helped us more deeply understand why Maine joined Massachusetts in honoring those who fought for freedom in the earliest days of our country.
2008 Lecture Series: With a generous grant from the Maine Humanities Council, Spirits Alive presented three lectures from January to March 2008 onÂ topics ranging fromÂ historic New England cemeteries to Portland's Great Fire.
Over 140 people enjoyed the third and final lecture in the winter series which was given by Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. The Director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission presented the slide lecture, "The Day Portland Burned: July 4, 1866." This lecture traced the dramatic destruction and rebirth of a great American city. Portland was recovering from its active role in the Civil War when on July 4, 1866, it was struck by the worst urban fire (at that time) in U.S. history.Â Within 24 hours, the center of the peninsula lay in ruins with 10,000 left homeless and $12 million in damage.Â True to its motto, Resurgam, the city quickly rebounded by constructing a grand Victorian business district and establishing new residential neighborhoods on the east and west ends of the peninsula.
The second lecture, by Dr. David Watters, the Director of the Center for New England Culture and professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, presented "Stranger, Stop and Cast an Eye: Â A Cultural History of New England Burying Grounds" on February 22, 2008. He explained how New England's burying grounds tell the stories of four centuries of religious beliefs, family patterns, and social change.One can see in gravestone imagery and hear in epitaphs the hopes and fears of individuals and societies facing the facts of death and life. Tracing changes in gravestone imagery and in cemetery design from Colonial time to today shows the larger cultural history of New England; the cemetery reveals stories of immigration, war, social class, all leavened with the wit and wisdom associated with the New England epitaphs.
The first lecture, "Death & Commemoration on the Frontier: AnÂ Analysis of Early Gravestones in Cumberland County, Maine, 1720â€“1820" was presented by Joy M. Giguere on Saturday, January 26 at One Longfellow Square. The illustrated lecture about 18th century burial practices and gravestones in Cumberland County provided an overview of her work which culminated in a Master's degree. She catalogued over 1,100 gravestones in Cumberland County that with dates from 1720 to 1820; from this, she analyzed how they indicate early commemorative, social and ideological patterns of Maine residents during this period. She talked about gravestone iconography such as the winged death's head, cherub, urn and willow; the work of local carvers Noah Pratt and Joseph Sikes; and the use of epitaph language and its usage over time. Ms. Giguere also entertained questions from the audience. The next lecture to be given by Dr. David Watters of the University of New Hampshire on February 23 is titled, "Stranger, Stop and Cast an Eye: Â A Cultural History of New England Burying Grounds."
The Spirits Alive first annual meeting was a success! On Saturday, January 19, 2008, we reviewed the events of 2007 while we looked forward to 2008. Attendees were challenged by the giant Eastern Cemetery crossword puzzle, gave ideasÂ about theÂ Eastern Cemetery on our re-imagination wall, and enjoyed a slide show of photos from 2007. The Spirits AliveÂ Membership Program was announced and our first member joined! We enjoyed a talk, "Old Stones â€“ Portland's Eastern Cemetery and the Old Burying Ground in Halifax, N.S.," by author and local historian, Bill Barry. Cissie Lindemann was presented with the Volunteer of the Year award, Barry Hosmer was given the first annual award that will continue in his name, and community partner awards were presented to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program, the University of Southern Maine Theater Department, and Rogueâ€™s Gallery.
The Portland Museum of Art (PMA) has donated $250 to help Spirits Alive's goal to replace the headstone of one of Portland's famous landscape painters, Charles Codman. Maine Memorial of South PortlandÂ is generously donatingÂ theÂ installation. Fundraising will continue through the Spring. We plan to install an exact replica of Codman's original stone in September 2008.
October evening tours a great success! Spirits Alive offered after-dark tours for the first time ever! Walk Among the Shadows at the Eastern Cemetery was held in cooperation with Greater Portland Landmarks, the USM Theater Department and the City of Portland on October 20, 26 and 27, 2007. Featuring eerie, adventurous and hilarious stories from Portlandâ€™s past, tours featured actors from USMâ€™s Theater Department appearing as famous (and infamous!) Portland characters enacting vignettes about the city's history. Highlights included stories from Alice Greeleâ€™s tavern (a Revolutionary-era public house), Portlandâ€™s first bank robber, a first-person account of the 1866 fire, reminiscing with Asa Clapp on Portland's golden age, an impassioned speech from a member of the anti-corset society, tales of witch-hunting, kleptomania in the 19th century, and a lively sword fight with Captains Blythe and Burrows. Over 100 folks took this rollicking journey through history. Thank you to our wonderful volunteers and all of those who came out to support the work in the Eastern Cemetery!
The Maine Switch dedicated their cover with a photo of our specters roaming the Eastern Cemetery at night and featured the story in their center spread as a fun Halloween event.
West End News highlights the work of Kathleen and Christina in the Eastern Cemetery in "Life Among the Spirits" by Harlan Baker. Find out what inspires these women to work and have fun with the city's oldest historic landscape. Check it out where free papers in Portland are found until October 30, 2007.
WCSH Features "Explore the Eastern Cemetery Tour!" Christina led more than 65 people on a trek through the site on Friday, October 5, 2007, and was featured on the TV channel's evening news! The video and story are on the WCSH6 Web site. As part of the Portland Trails Discovery Trek Series, she guided participants, teaching them the history of the Eastern Cemetery and what Spirits Alive is doing to keep its gates open for all.
Limited Edition Eastern Cemetery T-shirts Now on Sale!
Gravestone Conservation Workshop On Saturday, September 22, 2007, from 9:00 am â€“ 4:00 pm, Fred Oakley of the Association of Gravestone Studies instructed 14 participants on the art of gravestone conservation. Armed with chemicals (most all were drinkable), tools, and a super sense of humor, Fred led a hands-on demonstration of: how to properly clean a stone, how to cast a concrete base for resetting a stone, how to reset a stone that has no base, how to repair and cap a stone, and how to reset a stone that was previously set on a base with metal rods. Everyone had a great time and can't wait to get started on our own Save a Stone Program.
Artist Reception at the North Star CafÃ© On Saturday, September 15, 2007, from 5:30 pm â€“ 7:00 pm, the folks at North Star CafÃ© graciously served as the venue for the celebration of artists who contributed to our first art exhibition: Beyond the Gates â€” Art Inspired by the Eastern Cemetery.The evening was a fun meeting between cemetery volunteers, the public, and artists and their friends and family members. Co-sponsored with the Society of East End Arts, money was raised through the sales of artworks to replace the headstone of landscape painter Charles Codman and holiday lighting for Munjoy Hill. We were thrilled to also receive a direct donation toward the headstone itself! Christina sold several limited edition Eastern Cemetery shirts, thanks to the design and production by Rogues Gallery. A total of 32 artworks by are being exhibited through the creative genius of 17 Maine artists. The exhibition moved to Casco Bay Frames on Monday, September 17th and the Portland City Hall on October 6th. THANK YOU to all who participated!
2007 Workday Wrap-Ups September 15, 2007 bestowed on us a damp morning for pruning in the cemetery. The few, the proud, braved the cool morning to take errant limbs off of trees and spruce up the grounds. The City of Portland bought new tools and let us use them! Leana, while pruning around a tree on the southeast section of the cemetery, noticed a headstone that was lying face-down in the dirt under the tree. The tree's trunk had begun to grow over it and grass and sod were encroaching from all sides. She noticed the interesting shape of the stone â€” it seemed to be a trefoil â€” and decided that we would be turning it over. What resulted was unearthing of a pretty little stone for Julia H. Bragdon. At first it was hard to read. We doused it with water in order to see what the fine carving was to tell us... and all of a sudden a hard, driving rain came, pooling the earth into the crevices and revealing what had been to us the mystery of the inscription in the stone! After our chills subsided, we read: Julia H. Bragdon, wife of Richard Parsons, Born in Durham, Me, December 26, 1822, died in New Orleans, La, November 24, 1868. After looking her up in William Jordan's book of Eastern Cemetery transcriptions, we learned that her husband is buried a little above her on the hill. He died in at the age of 69. We figure her death place must explain the interesting shape of the stone â€” perhaps a fleur de lis? It just goes to show that a day of work in the Eastern Cemetery is never dull!
The August 11th was sunny and hot! The lot of us managed to volunteer time and sweat to pruning bushes, trimming around stones and taking down a dying tree without calling an ambulance for heat stroke victims. Luckily the cool water donated by Amato's and the sweet soda from Shipyard kept us cool and happy. We enjoyed the beauty and the cool breezes that the cemetery provides on a gorgeous summer morning and felt satisfied to see the growth of the many trees and bushes that have been planted this year.
July 14 at the Eastern Cemetery was warm and busy! So much work was accomplishedâ€”one huge pile of brush and limbs were created and a large pile of mulchÂ is gone! We made new friends were and some serious progress on those pesky shrubs; in doing so, stone markers were uncovered! Christina will bring Bill Jordan's book next month and we can try to identify them. And, we mulched like crazy along both sides of Funeral Lane near the Congress Street entrance. Cissie has become our official water-hauler. Thanks to all who were able to comeâ€”even for a short time â€”to help with our important work. The site looks great when we are giving our fabulous tours and for those who stop in and out during these summer days. The place is lookin' spic n' span!
The June 22nd workday at Eastern Cemetery was a beautiful morning of gardening and history! Starting at the early hour of 7:30 am, the crew numbering over 15 members trimmed, dug, planted and communed in the Maine sunshine. Thanks to Amato's for generously donating much-needed bottled water!!! The Mountfort gates now boast two beautiful beds of Spirea and lilac â€”gorgeous flowering shrubsâ€”that should give a little more color to the grounds through the early summer.
New Sidewalk Sign Welcomes All at Eastern Cemetery Gates Special thanks and kudos to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office for the new Spirits Alive advertisement! Anyone can see the black sandwich board-style sign that looks like a tombstone standing at the Congress Street gates (Lucky for us the nice people at Carlson and Turner put it out each morning!) as they walk or drive by the cemetery. Thank you from Spirits Alive!!
Spirits Alive Bake Sale Nets Funds for Conservation Plan! Thanks to intrepid and fast-thinking volunteers, Leana and Lisa, Spirits Alive had its first public sponsored table at the Bayside International Fair & Market on June 2. Baked goods (as well as photographs for sale by Leana) were donated by many group members and resulted in cash for Spirits Alive endeavors. Thank you to everyone who participated! Also, MaineStay, an awesome group of young people who helps us during our workdays, donated funds towards the Eastern Cemetery and we're sooooo thankful! Thanks, MaineStay! You rock!
New Spirits Alive Art Event Announced! BEYOND THE GATES â€” Art Inspired by the Eastern Cemetery is an art event sponsored jointly by Spirits Alive and the Society for East End Arts (SEA) that started in September and wrapped up in November. Seventeen intrepid artists from the Portland area participated in this inaugural exhibition which netted money toward the restoration of the Charles Codman headstone.
Spirits Alive Featured in the Portland Press Herald! "Restoring Life to Burial Ground" was the title of the feature that appeared in May 30th's Portland Press Herald. Christina and Barry were both highlighted in the story and promoted the efforts of Spirits Alive to rejuvenate and preserve the Eastern Cemetery. Read the story here.
Workday Wrap-Up The 2007 Kick-off Workday on May 12 at Eastern Cemetery was a rousing success! Basking in the warmth of blue skies while staving off a crisp breeze, we planted, mulched, trimmed and watered 32 new trees! A special thanks to all of our 38 wonderful volunteers who spent a total of 150 hours on the site. About half of our 38Â volunteersÂ returned from last year,Â and we welcomed new volunteers, too! Christina weathered her migraine to coordinate and direct the event, not only providing her cheerleading skills and working like a dog, but also giving an interview to Channel 8 news people! Barry Hosmer, our landscape architect dynamo, was onsite to direct the transportation of specific trees to their new homes according to his master plan. Some of the cemetery's new residents include: Pitch Pine, Larch, Bur Oak, White Oak, Hickory, and Ash trees. Countless Master Gardeners donated their time and sweat, and those of us with a love for all things old and a desire to see the cemetery looking beautiful did the same. Christina rewarded the hardy who were able to stay until very late with a special viewing of the shed, or Gothic House, including a flashlit view of the city tomb! Thanks to Shipyard Brewing Co. for supplying us with Captain Eli's soft drinks and to the City of Portland for mulch, water, work gloves, rakes, shovels, trash bags, and wheelbarrows! Thanks to Kathleen for bringing bottles of water and picking up the Shipyard soda, Deb for picking up the stakes and tools and gloves and guying chain, Turner for taking the trash away, Lisa and Sean for ice, Bjorn for trekking to the gas station with Linda's gas can, Christina for cookies, soda, Martha for the use of her hose, the strong back from the kids of MaineStay, and everyone who brought tools! We had a great day and look forward to seeing all of you back in June!
March 24 Wrap-Up The first official Spirits Alive meeting was held in the fellowship hall at the Anglican Cathedral of St. Paul on Congress Street. (Thanks to Very Rev. Lester E. York for accommodating us and giving a detailed historical tour of the sanctuary after the meeting.) During the meeting we were pleased to receive an eye-opening presentation called "An Informal History of Munjoy Hill" from Earle Shettleworth, Jr., the Maine State Historian. The Eastern Cemetery's landscape architect, Barry Hosmer, let us know just how involved he has been in the last 15 years from designing a landscape master plan to buying and planting trees himself and what will happen during the May workday. He explained the master plan and answered site landscaping questions. Christina White wrapped up the meeting by explaining what Spirits Alive is and talking with the group of plans to move the landscape plan forward and provide for the Eastern Cemetery in years to come. She also led a discussion about possible fundraising opportunities and events. *Special thanks to Coffee by Design for providing beverages.
What a productive 2006! In May 2006 we hosted a workday at the cemetery, with landscape architect, Barry Hosmer. Barry created a landscape plan for the site which was approved by the City's Historic Preservation Board. This work day attracted Master Gardeners, history buffs, neighbors and other area citizens that were eager to learn, contribute to the site and more. With such an enthusiastic response, we hosted four more work days last year. We planted over 40 trees, removed invasive vines and shrubs, and hand-trimmed around the most ancient and damaged stones. We wrapped up last season by giving a tour as part of Portland Trails "Urban Treks," and educated 56 people during the one-and-a-half hour event.
This year we are writing a Humanities grant with Dr. Joseph Conforti, of the University of Southern Maine. The focus of this grant will be research and write three new tours for this season. Additionally, it is our hope to mount a "Walk Among the Shadows" autumnal tour. All of this is in an effort to attract and educate citizens about this historic site and fund the Master Conservation Plan.