Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery
spring cemetery landscape
Spring in the Eastern Cemetery

All Rise for Upcoming Events!

Early Gravestones of Mid-Coast Maine 
An Illustrated Talk by Ron Romano

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

Join Ron Romano as he takes you on a visual tour of gravestones in mid-coast and downeast Maine. He'll show you the works of cutters from Bartlett Adams shop who struck out on their own and how some of it compares to the carved "black marble" stones of the region. Read more about Ron's walks and talks.

Gardening Day in the Cemetery

Saturday, May 20 from 8:30am to 12:00pm
Come and go as you please

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 Eastern 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.

Headstone of Eliza Lewis
Eliza's headstone before it was reset. Photo by H. Doggett

Subterranean Celebrity: Eliza Lewis

Died: September 28, 1800

We don't know much about the 11-month life of Eliza Lewis, but we do know a few things about her family. Her father, Ansel (1773 to 1826), was a land surveyor in Portland. He and his wife, Comfort Manchester (1777 to 1865), had 8 children after they were married in 1795. Eliza Ann was their 7th and the 2nd-to-last of 4 girls. Notice in the photograph that her beautiful heart-shaped border is topped by a pretty little fleur de lis. This slate, carved by Bartlett Adams, has a date of death skillfully squeezed all on one line!

Eliza dautr. of
Ansel & Comfort
died Sept. 28, 1800:
Aged 11

Eliza's mother is buried in a grave at the Eastern Cemetery, but Ansel is not. There is a Captain Ansel Lewis (1796 to 1844) who had a daughter named Eliza (aww!) buried there who could be Eliza's brother.
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.

Early Gravestones in Southern Maine book cover

Gravestones in Southern Maine: The Genius of Bartlett Adams

A book by Ron Romano, Spirits Alive volunteer and Bartlett Adams expert

If you're interested in learning more about the life and times of Bartlett Adams, the Eastern Cemetery's most prolific gravestone cutter, we've got your book! In addition to learning about Adams and his fellow stonecutters, you will discover so much about the Eastern Cemetery, its history, and the history of those interred within it. 

Find copies of the book at local Portland, Maine, bookstores or order from your favorite online retailer.

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!

Help the Eastern Cemetery

Support the work of Spirits Alive with your giving

You can help Spirits Alive keep the Eastern Cemetery alive for generations to come. 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.