Save the dates: Lowell Cemetery tours

Burial place of Paul Tsongas overlooking Concord River

We’ve set the dates for the Spring 2014 tours of historic Lowell Cemetery. They are as follows:

Friday May 9, 2014 at 1 pm
Saturday May 10, 2014 at 10 am

Friday May 16, 2014 at 1 pm
Saturday May 17, 2014 at 10 am

These tours all begin inside the Lawrence Street gate and last 90 minutes during which we walk to various graves in the cemetery where I share stories of the people buried there. The tours are held rain or shine and consist of a moderate amount of walking. There is no charge and no need to register in advance.

May seems far away on this cold and post-snowy day, but the spring comes quickly and there’s always plenty to do in Lowell at that time of year. So please mark your calendars and tell your friends. The tours have grown increasingly popular; last spring several of them had more than 100 people in attendance. Even if you’ve taken the tour previously, there are always new stories being added so consider joining us once again and please bring your friends. The Lowell Cemetery’s website has more information about the cemetery and other events held there.

3 Responses to Save the dates: Lowell Cemetery tours

  1. Patrick says:

    Never been on the tour and decided this year I am going to make an effort to try and get to one of them this Spring. Looking forward to it.

    In the meantime, I do have a couple of questions that you might be able to answer.

    First one is who is the artist for the Bonney memorial (aka “The Bonney Witch”)? To me it looks like the style of Daniel Chester French but not as good, so perhaps one of his associates? Or maybe just an admirer of his work?

    Second question is the Eli Hoyt Shedd mausoleum (Egyptian style). The door indicates it was built for eight year old Eli, but I read somewhere that he was moved to his parents’ mausoleum and the Egyptian one is now empty. True? Actually what I read is that it was now used as a receiving crypt, but I don’t think cemeteries do that anymore, so I am assuming it is simply an empty tomb now.

    Perhaps the above questions, if not already, can be part of the walking tour.


  2. DickH says:

    Frank Elwell who was the curator of sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art did the Bonney monument.

    The Eli Shedd mausoleum was donated to the cemetery by Freeman Shedd (the boy’s father) after he moved his son’s remains to the Shedd Family mausoleum which overlooks – you guessed it – Shedd Park. The former structure was renamed the “receiving tomb” and bodies were stored in there during the winter since in days before backhoes and jackhammers it was tough to dig a grave in frozen ground. The cemetery continues to use the receiving tomb for that purpose albeit not for Lowell Cemetery Burials. Some smaller regional cemeteries occasionally store remains there until spring burials. I do hope you’re able to join one of our tours this May.

  3. Patrick says:

    I knew you would help me on those questions. Thank you.

    Rereading my questions, I realize my comment on the Bonney sculpture sort of implies I think it is a bad sculpture. Not at all. I think it is quite striking and do like it (I made a special trip to the cemetery a couple of weekends ago solely to get more photos of it). But D.C.French’s stuff I think is exceptional.

    I did look up Elwell and from the Elwell Wiki page it states “Elwell received his first instruction in art from May Alcott’s sister, Abigail May Alcott, who also taught noted sculptor Daniel Chester French.” So there you go. Even a completely untrained eye like mine spotted that influence or at least a link between Elwell and French.

    I knew of receiving tombs, a relatively common structure around here in larger cemeteries that were around in the 1800s, but I didn’t realize any were still used these days with things like backhoes and refrigeration (there isn’t a compressor sitting behind the Lowell Shedd-Receiving tomb is there? ;). The first thing I thought of reading your reply is “those stairs” and ” that narrow door” when thinking of moving bodies in and out of there.

    Thanks again and really looking forward to the tour.