The largest of Rhode Island’s municipal cemeteries, the North Burial Ground is Providence’s oldest public cemetery (dating back to 1700), and serves as the final resting place for more than 100,000 of our ancestors, including many notable residents who contributed to the history of the nation, Rhode Island, and Providence. The North Burial Ground extends over 100 acres with more than 35,000 headstones, memorials, and tombs that provide a rich history of Providence and its inhabitants.
Maintaining such a large property—which includes a public park and portions of the Blackstone Canal–comes with difficulties. The cemetery was listed on PPS’s Most Endangered Properties List in 2000 due to the deteriorating state of its headstones and memorials. The latest challenge the cemetery is facing is a shortage of space. With 220 new burials every year, the North Burial Ground will run out of room in a decade.
Take a spring preservation walking tour of the cemetery with Rhode Island College’s Professor Fran Leazes and his knowledgeable North Burial Ground Project research team (www.ric.edu/
Learn about the contemporary problems facing the cemetery and ideas for solutions from Beth Charlebois, the city’s Director of Neighborhood Parks and Recreation Services, under whose jurisdiction the cemetery falls.