Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery
3 slate and 1 marble gravestone cleaned and reset by the conservation team
A newly reset and cleaned line of gravestones in the Eastern Cemetery

The Maine Old Cemeteries Association summer meeting is this Saturday, July 29 at the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association in Portland. Find out more about the MOCA meeting, and join us. (There's a rumor there'll be casket-shaped sugar cookies!)

Tours Are in Full Swing (Errr, We Mean Walk)

Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays: 11:00am
Thursday late afternoons: 5:30pm

Regularly-scheduled tours continue through October, so plan to join an intrepid Spirits Alive tour guide who will take you on a fun walk of the Eastern Cemetery and explain everything you ever wanted to know about colonial American burying grounds. Well, okay... just this one burial ground. Learn about gravestone art, types of stones, carvers, the history of the Eastern Cemetery itself, conservation of our stones, and a few of its residents. Pre-order tickets:

3 phases of the conservation of James, James and Francis Corry
James, James, and Francis Corry's headstone was the first repair of a broken SLATE headstone by our conservation team!

Our Conservation Team (Loves) Rocks

Next conservation day: Saturday, August 5
8:30am to 12:30pm

So many stones have already been cleaned, straightened, given new bases, moved to their rightful positions, and repaired in our 2017 conservation season! We continue to work on the grounds during the week and on Saturdays when we welcome everyone. We love to train new conservationists. Check out our schedule for more dates.

For the most updated conservation wins, follow us on Instagram (which copies to Facebook and Twitter).

All of our conservation photos taken through the years (currently at 500+) are available in our Conservation of Eastern Cemetery album on Flickr.

Headstone of Elizabeth Lefavor
Headstone of Elizabeth Lefavor. Photo by H. Doggett

Subterranean Celebrity: Elizabeth Lefavor

Died: April 13, 1830

Elizabeth was the daughter of Hannah and Nathaniel Lefavor who died at the tender age of 16 years. Deeply-carved by Richard Adams (thanks, Ron Romano for the identification!), her headstone includes a pretty little urn with a heart in the center of its body. A border of diamonds running down both sides of the stone acts as a frame for the words used to describe Hannah's short life. A wavy line snuggles the flaming urn and draping willow into the timpanum. A flourish to the letter "I" sets off the playful letters of her inscription.

Hannah outlived her mother who could have died as a result of complications of childbirth. She gave birth to Nathaniel Jr. in October 1829 and died a few days later. Hannah was buried next to her.

Elizabeth's father was possibly a cordwainer (shoemaker) as he helped incorporate the Portland Charitable Cordwainer's Society in 1826. In 1835, Nathaniel was employed by the federal government, listed under the Portland Customs staff in 1835 with an income of $123. Born in Salem, MA, he served as a sergeant in the War of 1812. He lived to be 64 years old—dying 16 years after marrying his second wife, Roxalana.

Elizabeth's sister Martha, born 2 years after her, lived to be 76 years old and died in China, Maine. Nathaniel Jr. died in Columbus, Ohio at the age of 50 years.

In memory of
daughter of Nathaniel and
Hannah Lefavor,
died April 13, 1830.
Aged 16 Years

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.

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

We are proud to offer many opportunities to visit, learn, and do!

  • Maine Old Cemeteries Association Meeting
    This summer program is hosted by us and will take place at the Maine Charitable Mechanics Hall. Come learn about projects in cemeteries around the region as well as presentations on Captain Moody of the Portland Observatory, the Abyssinian Meeting House, and the Catholic sections of the Eastern Cemetery.
  • Conservation Workdays
    Learn about the care and conservation of old stones while you improve the look and safety of this 350-year-old public burial ground. We're always "uncovering" new mysteries, but we solve old ones as well!
  • Eastern Cemetery Walking Tours
    Regular tours run through October. Choose from Wednesday, Saturday, or Sunday mornings and Thursday late afternoons.
  • Walk Among the Shadows
    Our October evening event allows you to go with a group down Funeral Lane after the sun has gone down. Expect to hear spine-tingling stories based on the lore and legend of Munjoy Hill in Portland as you make your journey.
  • Stone Photo Project
    At your own pace, contribute to this project which—so far—includes a collection of over 6,000 gravestone images.
  • In October, we welcome a new book about the Eastern Cemetery by Ron Romano! Book signing to be held at Maine Historical Society on Friday the 13th (ooohh eeee!)
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.

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.