Historic Walking Tours

 2019 Schedule

Every Saturday at 10:30 am and Sunday at 2:00 pm

-All public tours begin at the cemetery office-   

Learn how this beautiful Historic National Landscape came to be, the background of its unique design, and the many notable figures buried here.  Historic Walking Tours are conducted June thru October. Tours are led by our experienced History Docent team of volunteers. You do not need to pre-register, just meet us by the cemetery office. on the day of the tour.

Tours are free and open to the public. Help support our tours and educational programming by renewing your membership or joining the Friends of Evergreen  HERE or by sponsoring a month of tours!

For information about our  2019 tour sponsorship opportunities, please contact:

Jessica Siraco, Executive Director: 207.619.3072 or friendsofevergreen@gmail.com

October Schedule:

Oct. 5 @ 10:30 am: Wreck of the Otraska

Oct. 6 @ 2:00 pm: Mausoleums Part II

Oct. 12 @ 10:30 am: Unusual First Names 

Oct. 13 @ 2:00 pm: The Suffragists

Oct. 19@ 10:30 am: The Elk Tour 

Oct. 20 @ 2:00 pm: Monuments & Memory 

Oct. 26 @ 10:30 am: Kids’ Walk 

Oct. 27 @ 2:00 pm:The Spiritualists


Historic Walking Tour Descriptions

Artists & Artisans
The vibrant, thriving arts community of today’s Downtown Arts District in Portland reflects the rich cultural heritage in the arts of the mid to late Victorian era and beyond. Join us in Evergreen to meet these creative individuals; architects, sculptors, painters, patrons, and craftsmen that designed and furnished Portland’s finest homes and built the institutions and societies we depend on.

Changing Styles
The simplicity and uniformity of early gravestones has now become a plethora of choices in design and personal choice. A short stroll reveals the wide array of current options in remembering loved ones.

The Charitable Mechanics Association
In 1815 Portland’s manufacturers and mechanics – architects, masons, furniture makers, bakers, tailors, ship builders, etc.- formed an organization for their mutual benefit and to provide educational opportunities for their apprentices. The association still exists and is centered in its 1857 building at the corner of Casco and Congress Street. The tour will focus on 19th century business and trade leaders who worked together via the Association to strengthen Portland’s economy.

Civil War Tour
With over 1,000 Civil War veterans, Evergreen’s Historic Section is perhaps Portland’s best, yet little known Civil War site. These men and women along with family and friends tell the story of Maine in the war era from the battlefield to efforts at home.

The Deering Neighborhood: People and Places
The tour covers the history of the immediate Steven Plains and Deering Center neighborhood, from Woodfords Corner to Morrill’s Corner, as reflected by former residents who are interred at Evergreen. It features the Stevens family, Rufus Dunham, Eben and Mary Woodford, Levi and Rufus Morrill, F.O.J. Smith, the Baxter and Deering families and the Winslow brothers. It also includes information about the neighborhood’s tinsmithing, comb-making, tannery, and canning industries plus brief histories of Deering High, Hoegg Hall, and harness racing at Presumpscot Park.

Eastern Avenue
Eastern Avenue. Enjoy an easy, flat walk as the docent interprets symbols and points out the variety of materials and designs, from humble to grandiose, you are passing. Learn the stories behind the stones of both families and individuals.

* Wheelchair Accessible.

The Elks Tour
Explore early 20th C. Portland through the lives of this diverse group of men and women. From naval intelligence to orphanages, to retail and the YWCA, what links them all is their commitment to public service and their contributions to the growth of Portland. This geographically compact tour covers an expanse of Portland history.

From Alsadania to Zenus: Evergreen’s 19th Century Unusual First Names
Names, like clothing and hair styles, go in and out of fashion. What is popular in one time is often viewed as old fashion in another.  The tour tells the stories of women and men whose first names are seldom, if ever, used today.

Highlights of Evergreen
Meet a political powerhouse, a suffragette, a famous architect, a self-made millionaire, the father of prohibition, a Civil War hero, a seafaring family, and more as we highlight the stories of some of the more interesting residents of early Portland. There is something for everyone in this casual walk through the center of Evergreen Cemetery.

As Evergreen has over 30 mausoleums and crypts often located at significant walking distances from each other, the tour is given in two sections on different days. Although attendees will not enter the mausoleums, there are several whose interiors can be viewed through the door windows. They range in size from the Low family one snuggled into the Woodlawn Avenue hillside to the grandeur of the Hugh Chisholm Roman temple replica.

Monuments, Memory & the Cultural Landscape
Explore the monuments, the substance of memory, and the cultural landscape of Evergreen through the design of the rural garden cemetery and its granite and marble monuments. Discussions of materials and architectural forms of mortuary sculpture, including text, symbolism and iconography, will carry visitors along the scenic roads of the historical landscape, to the jewel of Evergreen Cemetery, the Wilde Memorial Chapel, a small Gothic-inspired building dedicated to the memory of Samuel Wilde.

Notable Women of Evergreen
Portland was home to many exceptional women whose contributions helped shape our community and our country. The tour includes remarkable women such as author and art patron, Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat, and Augusta Hunt who worked for social justice and women’s rights. We will learn about other women who as abolitionists, business leaders, lawyers, doctors, nurses, artists and authors made important contributions to our history.

 The Portland Rum Riot
In the spring of 1855 rumors spread throughout Portland that Neal Dow had illegally purchased and then stored a large quantity of alcohol in City Hall. A crowd, incited by the rumor and a newspaper editorial, gathered outside the building on June 2. The tour explores how the crowd became a mob that attacked City Hall, the death of one of the protesters, and the subsequent trial of Neal Dow. Nathan Clifford, William Pitt Fessenden, and Francis O.J. Smith are significant people included on the tour.

The Rines Era
For over 100 years Rines men and women were innovators in Portland’s downtown economy. In addition to opening the first department store on Congress Street, the four brothers and their descendants developed hotels, apartment buildings, and a broadcasting network. Among their well known contemporaries were architects Francis Fassett and John Calvin Stevens, both of whom designed commercial buildings and homes for the Rines family.

Seafaring Portlanders
Nineteen Century Portland was a bustling port. Coasters, merchant and passenger ships connected it to nearby ports and to others hundreds or thousands of miles away. The tour includes ship owners, masters, crew and passengers who sailed aboard these vessels. Monuments range from the imposing Captain Jacob S. Winslow statue to the humble gravestone for Captain Manson Hume Jr. Maritime symbols, such as a tilted anchor, or the words “Lost at Sea” are reminders that not all seafarers returned home

 The Spanish American War
One hundred twenty years ago the Spanish American War reached as far as Portland. Hear a brief synopsis of the war and visit the graves of some who were touched by it.

The SS Portland Disaster On November 27,1898, an immense storm swept up the Atlantic coast. That evening, the luxurious SS Portland sailed out of Boston Harbor on its nightly passenger run to Portland. Sunday morning Portland families waited in vain for the ship to arrive, alas the ship had sunk off Cape Cod. There were no survivors. Until the 1912 Titanic sinking, this was the largest naval disaster in New ENgland history. The tour introduces passengers, crew and officers who are either memorialized or buried in Evergreen. Attention will also be given to the many questions, some of which remain unanswered, about the disaster.

The Suffragist Tour – is an introduction to Portland area women who were engaged in the decades-long effort to obtain women the right to vote. John Neal wrote supportive editorials about them but Edward Elwell’s editorials opposed their cause. Maine women wrote, spoke and petitioned from the movement’s earliest days in the 1860s and added marching and protests in the early 20th century, all of which resulted in passage of the 19th amendment.  Gladys Doten Chapman, Doris Stevens, and Augusta Hunt are three of the people included on the tour.
Spiritualist Tour – is the final tour of the 2017 season.  Spiritualism, a belief in the deceased’s ability and desire to communicate with the living, was a widely accepted belief system between the 1840s and the 1920s. Mid to late 19th century Portland papers contained numerous articles about its meetings and services.  Well known and respected local business leaders such as S.B. Beckett and J.S. Palmer are included on the tour.

 The Thomas Family
Thomas Street, the 1865 Thomas Block on Commercial and the 1871 Widgery Block on Exchange are reminders of this illustrious Portland family. Elias, William and Widgery are names given to multiple generations of the family noted as real estate developers, bankers, lawyers, a Civil War general and the U.S. Ambas-sador who founded New Sweden, Maine.

A Walk Down Western
The tour is an easy walk along Evergreen’s most northern street. Included in the tour are the burial places of everyday people plus that of historian William Willis, surgeon Abner Shaw of the 20th Maine, an early governor, a writer, and an artist.The tour is wheelchair accessible.

The Wilde/Baxter Tour
The tour, one of the smallest area-wise, includes magnificent monuments such as the chapel, the Chisholm mausoleum, female Memory figures, a large Celtic cross, and the Baxter family lot.

The Wreck of the Otraska
On a warm morning in October 1861 seven young men sailed forth from Portland for a day of fishing aboard the Otraska. A sudden squall surprised them and led to the sinking of the vessel and the deaths of all but one. Stroll through Evergreen as we weave the tale of the Otraska, her crew, their lives and demise.

Zinc Monuments
Scattered throughout Evergreen’s burial lots are blue-gray metal monuments which are in sharp contrast to the slate, marble, and granite gravestones. Marketed as white bronze between the 1870s and 1910s, they were a less expensive alternative to the traditional stones. The tour provides information on how and where the monuments were made and the stories of the families who purchased them.

Older Adult Tours

If you are part of a retirement or assisted living community and would like to have a tour of Evergreen Cemetery, let us know.

We will schedule a special 2 hour program begins with a slide presentation in Wilde Memorial Chapel followed by a vehicular tour for groups of 8-10 people narrated by one of our many Docents.

Please email us at friendsofevergreen@gmail.comThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a tour!

The Friends of Evergreen History Docents have developed an exciting selection of walking tours. These tours can be enjoyed as a group led by a trained Docent or self-guided.

Visit the Points of Interest section of our website to print a map with some highlights.

The 1994 Master Plan includes a detailed history of Evergreen – this is a great way to prepare for your tour!

Find us

Evergreen Cemetery is located at 672 Stevens Avenue in Portland, Maine. Get directions and cemetery hours.