North Burial Ground – Providence

  • North Burial Ground
  • Branch Avenue, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°50’34.92″N, 71°24’29.28″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 23, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Easy with some hills.

 

The North Burial Ground is a historic cemetery owned by the City of Providence and open to the public daily from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The walk here at the cemetery makes for a good companion to the Historic Providence walk as many of the folks mentioned in that walk are buried here. There is no set route for this walk as there is so much to see. One could spend an hour or an entire day here. The group I was with walked about two and a half miles in about two and a half hours stopping at about a third of the graves listed on the back of the map (available at the front office). For our walk we stopped at the Elks Plot with its famous statue, the graves of the Brown Brothers (John, Nicholas, and Joseph) whom played great roles in Colonial Providence, and Samuel Whipple who was the first to be buried here. We continued on to look for the grave of Sarah Helen Power Whitman who was Edgar Allen Poe’s fiancé, onto Randall Park which is a long strip of land within the fence along North Main Street with no graves, and then to the grave of Col. William Barton who fought at Bunker Hill. Fort Barton in Tiverton is named for him. Next we stopped at the marble steps built from the excess stone used to build the State House before moving onto the grave of Charles Dow, the founder of the Wall Street Journal. Making our way to the northern end of the cemetery we crossed arguably the most preserved section of the Blackstone Canal which served as a commerce route between Providence and Worcester. Beyond the canal is Potters Field which is free ground used to bury the poor and unknown. The cemetery has two interesting natural features being an esker and pond. The esker is a hill of sand and gravel left behind by the last glacier. The pond, small in size, offers a haven for passing birds. The group then swung around the west side of the hill. At the top of the hill is the Brown Mausoleum and the grave of Nicholas Brown II of Brown University fame. The next stop was the Receiving Tomb built in 1903. This structure housed the remains of Roger Williams from 1932 to 1939 before he was relocated to Prospect Terrace. The grave of Samuel Bridgham, the first mayor of Providence, was the next stop. His family farm was located in Seekonk, now East Providence along the Ten Mile River. For the conclusion of the walk we passed the Spanish American and Civil War monuments and then passed the Firefighters Monument before heading back to the main entrance. Parking is available along North Main Street and dogs are not allowed on the property. Group tours are provided on occasion by Sean Briody (follow their Facebook page). For other questions contact Rose Martinez at 401-680-5318.

TWRI-NBG05

North Burial Ground looking towards The State House.

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