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.

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.

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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.

Unchain the Thunder

Norm’s Diner in Groton, Connecticut

Norm’s Diner at 171 Bridge Street (near the I-95 ramp) in Groton, Connecticut. Norm’s, a local favorite, recently came under new ownership. According to TheDay, it used to have a reputation as a greasy spoon, with a heavy emphasis on the grease. Its new owners freshened up the interior and replaced its original booths with wooden tables. Que será, será.

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The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art Village

The Dinosaur Place in Oakdale, Connecticut (southwest of Norwich) is a fun adventure park for kids of all ages. They even have an animatronic Dilophosaurus that spits water at you when you step into its cave! I loved dinosaurs as a kid, and would have been enthralled. When Jurassic Park came out in 1993, I was so excited I refused to change my Jurassic Park t-shirt until we saw it.

The Dinosaur Place grew out of a shop called Nature’s Art, which displayed fossils and gem stones. It was so popular that by 2003 the owners were able to open an expansion featuring life-like depictions of these prehistoric creatures. Families can easily spend an afternoon (and a small fortune) here. In addition to the dinosaurs, there’s also a maze and splashpad for kids.

Visitors stroll the 60-acre park along a 1.5 mile trail, where sculptures depicting over 40 types of dinosaurs are on display. Compared to Dinosaur World in Plant City, Florida, The Dinosaur Place emphasizes activities over science, although information panels accompany each type of dinosaur. There is a side trail specifically dedicated to dinosaurs that lived in the area that would become Connecticut.

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Modern Diner in Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Modern Diner at 364 East Avenue in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. This early-twentieth century Sterling Streamliner was the first diner to be placed on the National Register for Historic Places, and is one of two Sterling Streamliners still in operation. It’s easy to see the diner’s origin in dinning railroad cars in this early model.

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In Search of H.P. Lovecraft

The writer H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), born in Providence, Rhode Island, had a huge indirect influence on my interests. His pulp-fiction horror and sci-fi stories, though obscure in his own time, subsequently inspired horror films, music, art, games, and other literature. H.P. Lovecraft’s 1928 short story “The Call of Cthulhu” even inspired an instrumental on Metallica’s album Ride the Lightning (1984) called “The Call of Ktulu”. In fact, Lovecraft inspired so much derivative material, I’m familiar with much of his work without previously having read any of his original stories.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Lovecraft died in poverty and obscurity. He was an elitist and Anglophile who hated modernity. Never-the-less, by the late 20th Century his influence had grown so much that Brown University erected a small plaque in his honor in 1990. It sits outside John Hay Library at 20 Prospect Street in Providence, Rhode Island.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Lovecraft is buried in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island. His name was originally inscribed on the Phillips family monument (his mother’s family) but in 1977 fans erected a separate headstone for him.

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