Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island

Photo by Michael Kleen

Swan Point Cemetery, at 585 Blackstone Boulevard in Providence, Rhode Island, is a private rural cemetery established in 1846. It was one of the country’s first rural cemeteries, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It encompasses 200 acres and is the final resting place for approximately 42,000 of the city’s former residents. Swan Point contains many beautiful bronze and white marble sculptures.

Troubled Mind

Monument to William Clarke Sayles (1855-1876), son of William F. and Mary W. Sayles. William Francis Sayles was a textile manufacturer, state senator, and trustee of Brown University. His son, William, died as a young man at the age of twenty. He is portrayed as a scholar wrapped in robes in this bronze statue.

Once a Dream

This hauntingly beautiful white marble moment is dedicated to Mary Waterman (1850-1860) and William Comstock (1857-1860), children of Byron and Harriet Sprague. Their epitaph reads, in part: “Farewell darlings we have laid you side by side beneath this sod, buds of earth all fadeless blooming in the garden of our God.” Byron Sprague was a businessman and real estate mogul.

One Day I'll Win

Known for his unusual beard (“sideburns” are named after him), Ambrose Everett Burnside (1824-1881) was one of the North’s least effective generals during the American Civil War. He commanded the Army of the Potomac at the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg. After the war, he went on to become governor of Rhode Island and first president of the National Rifle Association.

Robbie

A white marble monument to a child named Robbie, with an inverted wreath carved around the name.

Providence

This neoclassical white marble Doric column is dedicated to Robert Grosvenor (1848-1879), son of William and Rosa Anne Grosvenor. The Grosvenors are an old New England family dating back to their arrival from England in 1680. Their family plot contains several beautifully-maintained marble monuments.

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Author: Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and occasional traveler. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He enjoys studying military history, folklore, and philosophy.

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