Walking tours! See a conservation technique! Clean up day July 25! Subterranean Celebrity: Elizabeth Phillips! Spirits Alive is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Portland, Maine's historic Eastern Cemetery through a range of activities including promotion and education.
Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery
Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery | eNews, July 2015
A fenced-in family plot in the Eastern Cemetery
A family plot bordered by an iron fence and granite posts in the Eastern Cemetery

Walking Tours

July 22 to October 18
Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays
11:00am to Noon

These 1-hour tours are led by trained volunteers, who cover the cemetery's history, prominent historical figures, and early gravestone art. Off-schedule private tours are also available, at no extra charge.

Bring your out-of-town guests and neighbors! This year, you can purchase tickets ahead of time! $10 adults, $5 students, $5 seniors over 65, and children under 12 free.

Touching up a repair in a marble headstone
Touching up a repaired crack in Joseph Thompson's marble headstone.

Stone Conservation Workdays

July to September
8:30am to 12:30pm

Although our July 18 conservation day was rained out, we were able to try out a new fill-in technique on a recently-uprighted and cleaned marble headstone. This filler will not shrink as it dries, so the stone will have a smooth surface when it is applied over a mortared repair.
Come learn about stone conservation on our hands-on workdays! Find more information on stone conservation workdays as well as a step-by-step process of working on stones complete with photos.

Kathleen makes the Eastern Cemetery a little prettier
Kathleen makes the Eastern Cemetery prettier! Photo by Leana Good-Simpson

Gardening Workday

Saturday, July 25, 2015
8:30am to noon

Join us for a morning of cleaning and gardening in the Eastern Cemetery! We'll spruce up (get it?) around the trees and bushes with mulch, pick up trash and do general gardening. Bring your work gloves, rakes or tools. If you don't, we will provide them. Let us know if you have questions or want to RSVP.
Marble headstone of Elizabeth Phillips
Elizabeth Phillips' slate headstone. Photo by Ron Romano

Subterranean Celebrity: Elizabeth Phillips

Died September 9, 1838

We know very little about Elizabeth Merrill Phillips except that a marriage intention was filed for her in Saco, Maine in 1818, when she was 23 and her fiancé William was 28. Since she died only 15 years later, it’s quite extraordinary that, according to her headstone, she gave birth to at least 14 children! Whether this was a case of multiple births or a rapid succession of deliveries, the tragedy is the enormous loss experienced by this couple.
In memory of
wife of
William Phillips,
who died
Sept. 9, 1833,
AEt. 38
Also, 14 of their infant
Weep not for me my love,
Prepare to meet me above.
Elizabeth’s pretty slate headstone has a rounded tympanum that showcases a beautiful urn and willow design and squared shoulders on either side. The inscription is decorated as if it were carved into a wide column. Notice the borders and flecking on the edges.

Special thanks to Ron Romano for researching Mrs. Phillips!

You can suggest a subterranean celebrity! Just send an email—it doesn't take much to make a nice little story. An index of all of our Subterranean Celebrities is available.

Ask Amazon to Donate to Spirits Alive

If you're an Amazon shopper, here's an easy way to support your favorite historic Maine cemetery:

  • Go to smile.amazon.com
  • Enter "Spirits Alive" in the box
  • Choose the non-profit in Portland, Maine from the list

Voila! A portion of all of your purchases through smile.amazon.com will go to our efforts to support, conserve and promote this historic outdoor museum. Thank you!

$5 Friendships Help the Eastern Cemetery

Support the work of Spirits Alive with your giving

For only $5, you can help Spirits Alive keep the Eastern Cemetery alive for generations to come and join as a Friend. Through your support, you can help us, an ALL-VOLUNTEER organization, to continue to:

  • Keep the gates open – encouraging the community to explore its open and safe green space
  • Offer education about the cemetery and its residents to the public – through tours, lectures, and events
  • Encourage and support the city in keeping the site clean and safe for visitors of all ages
  • Preserve this incredible outdoor museum and sacred historic landscape
We are a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Portland, Maine’s historic Eastern Cemetery through a range of activities including promotion and education.

© 2015 Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery
PO Box 18209, Portland, ME 04112-8209