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Historic America

Stories in Stone: Writers and Poets

Whether it’s “Author’s Ridge” in Concord or the small church cemetery where a mysterious visitor leaves flowers for Poe on the anniversary of his death, the graves of literary heroes have long been popular destinations.

For aspiring authors, poets, and fans of literature, the grave sites of America’s famous writers have become pilgrimage sites. Devoted fans leave behind flowers, pens, pencils, and even their own writing as tokens of affection. As a writer myself, I find stops at the graves of famous writers an obligatory inclusion on my travels. Here are just some of them. Have you ever visited a famous author’s grave? Leave a comment with your story!

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was a leader of the transcendentalist movement and champion of individualism (most well-articulated in his essay “Self-Reliance“). He was a prolific author and lecturer. It’s difficult to think of a writer who had greater impact on American intellectual life. He is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts on Author’s Ridge.

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Photography

Most Charming Cemeteries in New England

These historic rural cemeteries are a treasure-trove of art, architecture, and sculpture.

Not only are the New England states among the most progressive in America, they were also the birthplace of the rural cemetery movement. These cemeteries were designed by some of the most prominent landscape architects of their day to be parks as well as sanctuaries for the remains of loved ones. Wealthy citizens contributed millions to create beautiful funerary art and sculpture that you can still see today.

Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Mount Auburn Cemetery, at 580 Mt Auburn Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was the country’s first rural cemetery. Designed by landscape architect Alexander Wadsworth, it opened in 1841 and quickly became one of the most visited destinations in the country. Rural cemeteries were laid out like gardens, with winding paths, ponds, and hills, and many, like Mount Auburn, also serve as arboretums. Mount Auburn was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003. It is 200 acres and is the final resting place for approximately 70,000 people.

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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: Men of Valor

Cemetery visitors often pass by the graves of Civil War veterans without a second thought. Here are just a few of their stories.

Fought from 1861 to 1865, the American Civil War was the bloodiest war in U.S. history. It ended with Northern victory and restoration of the Union. Nearly 850,000 people died in the conflict, with millions more veterans carrying the scars of war for the remainder of their lives. Today, their graves are nestled among the rows of tombstones in cemeteries across the United States. Their stories of valor cry out to be told.

Brig. Gen. Elisha Gaylord Marshall (1829-1883)

Monument to Brig. Gen. Elisha Gaylord Marshall (1829-1883) in Mount Hope Cemetery, 1133 Mount Hope Avenue, Rochester, Monroe County, New York. E.G. Marshall graduated from West Point in 1850 and was colonel of the 13th New York Volunteer Infantry during the Battle of Fredericksburg and was captured at the Battle of the Crater, June 30, 1864.

Categories
Historic America

Heritage Park and the Battle of Rhode Island

A mixed-unit of African Americans, American Indians, and white colonists fended off wave after wave of British infantry in this little-known Revolutionary War battle.

The Battle of Rhode Island was fought on August 29, 1778 between American and French forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene and Brig. Gen. John Glover, and British and Hessian forces commanded by Sir Robert Pigot, Maj. Gen. Francis Smith, and Friedrich Wilhelm von Lossberg on Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was a tactical draw, but ultimately ended in British victory when the Americans withdrew, failing to retake the island

In the winter of 1776, British troops seized control of the strategic town of Newport, Rhode Island and fortified Aquidneck Island. In the spring of 1778, as France entered the war on the American side, Maj. Gen. John Sullivan was appointed overall command of American troops in Rhode Island. He hatched a plan for a joint Franco-American land and sea invasion to retake Newport.

While American militia were mustering and organizing for the fight, Sir Robert Pigot withdrew his men from their fort on Butts Hill into the island’s interior. As the Americans moved into position, French commander Comte d’Estaing informed them his fleet would be unable to assist due to damage from storms and skirmishing. Without French support, hundreds of American militiamen went home. The remaining units arrayed themselves across the island to block the British from retaking the high ground.

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Roadside America

West Side Diner in Providence, Rhode Island

West Side Diner, at 1380 Westminster Street in Providence, Rhode Island, is a classic art deco, stainless steel 1947 Kullman model diner. Walter Scott began the first lunch cart/wagon service in Providence, Rhode Island in 1872, the precursor to modern diners and fast food establishments. Joseph and Mary Poirier opened this diner in 1947 on Atwells Avenue and operated it until 1955.

Like many diners, it had many owners and many names over the years, including Top Hat, Krystal’s, and El Faro. It closed in 1999, but a man named Jon Özbek saved it from the wrecking ball. It was restored and moved to its current location in 2011. It reopened two years later with new owners and a new name, the West Side Diner. It was added National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

Look for a new diner every Tuesday in 2019! Click to expand photos.

Diner Resources

Categories
Photography

Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island

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.

William Clarke Sayles (1855-1876)

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.

Sprague

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.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Unchain the Thunder

Monument to Col. John Stanton Slocum (1824-1861) in Swan Point Cemetery, 585 Blackstone Blvd in Providence, Rhode Island. Slocum commanded the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment and was killed on July 21, 1861 at the First Battle of Bull Run. The 2nd RI was deployed in Burnside’s Brigade, which initially drove Confederate forces back during the opening phase of the battle.

Col. John Stanton Slocum (1824-1861)