We Had Tours:
Mount Auburn Cemetery
And More Tours...and more tours!
in Stone-Hope Cemetery.
On October 5, a brilliant fall day, a group of 25
nature lovers and cemetery buffs traveled by bus from
Worcester to Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge for a 1 1/2
hour walking tour sponsored by the Friends of Hope and led by
Mount Auburn s Janet Heywood, the Vice President of
Interpretive Programs for the cemetery.
1831, Mount Auburn was the first landscaped garden cemetery in
the United States and it quickly became an attraction for
visitors drawn to its rolling hills, charming vistas, rare
trees (there are more than 600 varieties) and magnificent
gardens. (More than 50,000 annuals are planted each year.)
Mount Auburn is the final resting place for such famous
Americans as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mary Baker Eddy,
Isabella Stewart Gardner, Buckminster Fuller, Oliver Wendell
Holmes, Winslow Homer and B.F. Skinner.
began by leading the group past the lovely Auburn lake, with
its visiting wild ducks and reflections of autumn colors. She
discussed historically important mausoleums such as those of
the Gardner and Lodge families and pointed out the stunning
view of the Mary Baker Eddy monument, a classical Greek temple
across the water.
Some of the group followed Ms.
Heywood up to the famous Washington Tower which provides a
bird s eye view of Boston in the distance. The rest visited
the Longfellow grave. Once reunited, the group wished that
they had time to visit all 175 acres of this historic place.
On the ride home, they shared their impressions of one of
America s great cemeteries.
The autumn sunshine was just as dazzling on Sunday,
October 27, when Bill Wallace, president of the Worcester
Historical Museum, presented a tour of Hope Cemetery entitled
Portraits in Stone. The lecture was part of a city-wide
celebration by cultural institutions on the theme of
Portraits! , organized by the Worcester Cultural Coalition.
Bill led an enthusiastic group of nearly 40 walkers
through the cemetery, pausing at memorials which provide
either a literal or symbolic portrait of the person they
memorialize. The earliest sites selected to illustrate the
theme were 19th-century portraits of the deceased carved into
the monuments: like the oval portrait on the obelisk to boot
manufacturer Timothy Stone and the relief bust of Burnham
Wardwell, an early warden of prisons and insane asylums,
carved by celebrated Worcester sculptor Andrew O Connor in the
early 1880s. The group admired the lovely statuary at the
Chickering monument, representing the angel of death standing
over a kneeling woman, lifting the veil from the eyes of
Faith. Another stop was made to admire the magnificent angel
overlooking the Coes plot, which has recently had its ornate
wrought-iron gate restored through the efforts of the Friends
of Hope and the Coes Family. The broken fence around the plot
will be replaced by a reproduction, and it is hoped that the
angel and other sculpture will soon be restored.
The most important portrait in stone, according to Bill, is
the 16-foot-high Firemen s Monument, made by Evans & Co.
and dedicated in 1896 to honor all Worcester fire fighters for
their service to the community. The imposing figure in uniform
atop the monument is that of Fire Chief Simon Combs, who led
the Fire Department for nearly two decades until 1891.
More modern portraits on memorials ranged from
etched figures of fishermen and athletes to actual
photo-graphs attached to monuments by various means. The most
unusual modern memorial is the elaborate monument to Ruben
Perez (Jan 1942 to Feb. 2002.) Mr. Perez was a well-known
restorer of classic cars who also raced them, often winning
the Summer Nationals. The granite monument, which bears an
portrait of Perez, has been carved by Rex Monuments into the
shape of his favorite car, Amigo , a Chevrolet from the 1960s.
Loved and Lost but Not Forgotten read the words
under a carved portrait of a professional boxer. The tour made
clear that portraits in stone, from photos of toddlers in the
Garden of the Innocents to a color photo under glass of the
most marvelous mother in the world , to the harp carved into
the imposing monument to music-loving Susan Reed Lawton, a
friend of Stephen Salisbury III, are a moving and effective
way to celebrate loved ones lives for generations to come.
COMING EVENTS 2003
May 1, 10 AM
Arbor Day Tree Planting with Children
Gates Lane School
June 12, 4:30 PM
Coes Family Plot
The Coes Family Plot Begins Restoration
The Coes Family Plot is a significant historic plot
at Hope Cemetery. Placed on a corner, high on a hill, it is
our only fenced and gated plot. For many years it has been in
disrepair and the Fannins have done two evaluations, both of
which indicated continuing deterioration.
fall, Martha Coes Thayer came forward and agreed to have work
begin on the plot. Because the fence had one large section
missing, a plan was devised to replace the fence but to repair
and retain the original gate. The new fence, close in design
to the old, was selected by Cookie and Martha and will be
built by Colonial Iron Works. At this writing, the work on the
gate is completed and the new fence will be installed when
weather permits. It is expected to be completed by early
spring. We extend our thanks to the Coes family for this
Bigelow/Stevens Mausoleum Undergoes a Facelift
This summer we were contacted by Mr. Peter Taylor, a
descendant of the Bigelow/Stevens family, who wished to have
repairs made to his family s mausoleum. The mausoleum is
located on the circle near the newly restored Houghton
Mausoleum and was vandalized with other properties in 1992.The
bronze window grate was taken, but, fortunately, they were
unable to remove the lovely doors.
was a manufacturer, a real estate developer, and a prominent
citizen in Worcester who died in 1911. His daughter married
George A. Stevens, a grain merchant and successful business
man. After his marriage, Mr. Stevens also managed many real
estate holding. Over the years other family members continued
to make valuable contributions to Worcester s business
community, play an active role in politics, and to donate land
for several sporting facilities including the original
Worcester, skating rink.
Steven Striebel has been
retained by Mr. Taylor. The mausoleum has been completely
cleaned, repairs have been made to the doors, and unbreakable
glass has been installed in the doors. Colonial Iron is
fabricating a new window grate.
We are grateful to
Mr. Taylor for coming forward and working with us. We are
hopeful that in the coming year, we will be able to restore
two other mausoleums in this location which are presently
boarded up. Mr. Taylor may visit Worcester in the Spring, at
which time we will come together to thank him for his interest
in Hope Cemetery and his thoughtful contribution
Tomb of Mary Baker Eddy, Mt. Auburn
Friends Say Goodbye to Larry Blair
This fall Larry Blair, Hope Cemetery Director
retired after a long career at the cemetery and the forestry
department. All of us remember our early days when Larry would
assist us in setting up a tent at the Planter s Picnic or try
to open stubborn mausoleum doors that had not been opened in
many years. A group of Friends, including retired Commissioner
Tom Taylor, met at the Webster House and enjoyed a festive
lunch in Larry s honor. They presented him with a plaque
thanking him for his help and support over the years.
James Norcross Mausoleum Project Is Complete
The James Norcross Mausoleum, which sits high on a
hill in Hope Cemetery, has been completely restored with funds
from the Massachusetts Historic Commission and matching funds
from our modest capital fund account. The cost of the project
was just under $30,000.
The work was primarily done
by Steven Striebel and his crew. We remember Steven from the
work he did on the Houghton Mausoleum several years ago.
The current project included cleaning the exterior,
repairing all the joints, replacing vents with mesh, repairs
to the interior, and the remaking of the exterior doors/gates
which had been stolen in 1992. Working from a photograph taken
by the Friends, Colonial Iron was able to replicate the gates
in their original design.
At our October board
meeting, we met at the mausoleum to toast the people,
including ourselves, who worked so hard to save this historic
After our Annual Meeting, past and present members of
the Board celebrated the tenth anniversary at a dinner.
Nicholas Gage, prominent writer and Greek historian, offered
A Bridge to Hope
In my book Eleni, which is about the life and death
of my mother, whose remains are interred at Hope Cemetery
along with my father s. I quoted the following lines from
Thornton Wilder in the dedication:
There is a land of the living and a land of
the dead And the bridge is love, the only survival, the only
In a way you keep one of those bridges, the one most
meaningful to most of us here in Worcester, clear and safe and
peaceful so we can walk across it and feel close to those who
have left us, those we feel we can reach through the love that
bound us in life.
Of course that love is always
with us and we feel their presence whenever we remember them.
But we live in a temporal world and we feel closest to them
when we can come and stand before a small piece of earth that
holds their remains.
In my faith there is a hymn
called a trisagion that is read over the dead: Dear God, grant
rest to the soul of your servant, that he (or she) may repose
in a place where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing but
You have made Hope Cemetery such
a place for our loved ones, not for their souls, which are in
God s provenance, but for the vessels that held them and for
those of us who feel connected to them by love.
have done so much to make Hope Cemetery so beautiful and
serene, so conducive to clearing our minds of our daily
concerns and opening out hearts to memory and love that on
behalf of all those who have loved ones there, I want to
congratulate you, th honor you and to salute you.
Friends Board of Directors
Ann C. Nelson, President
Chris T. Liazos,1st Vice President
Tracy C. Dill, 2nd Vice President
Mary D. Johnson, Secretary
Kenneth T. Lundquist, Treasurer
Barbara A. Booth
Douglas Butler 508-842-4770
Joan P. Gage
Barbara S. Higgins
Nancy Johnson 508-852-2627
Sally Talbot 508-797-0083
Chester F. Caswell III, Past Pres.
Letter From the President
As we near the end of the year
2002, we can look back with great pride at the progress we
have made at Hope Cemetery. Not only have we completed the
work on the Norcross Mausoleum but we are in the process of
restoring both the Coes Plot and the Bigalow-Stevens
But despite the fact that we are flushed
with success, it is important to remember that these things do
not come easily or without cost. We hope that we will continue
to have funding from the Massachusetts Historical Commission
and private donors. We also know that we may have to turn to
our membership for further support.
In the next few
months, we will complete research on the Orlando Norcross, the
Wesson, and the Prince family mausoleums. All these family
mausoleums are in need of work before they incur further
deterioration. Future projects for the Friends!
Meanwhile, I am thankful for my dedicated Board which has
worked so hard this year on our projects and programs. Our
accomplishments could not happen without their efforts. I wish
you all a happy and joyful holiday and thank you for your
support of and continued interest in Hope Cemetery.