Friday, March 05, 2010

Ghosts of Newport Past - Island Cemetery Again

Yesterday was cold and blustery with snow showers and squalls, but I needed to get out and about, so I took another wander through Island Cemetery, our local Victorian era and later cemetery on Newport's version of Boot Hill (a hill on the north end of town shared by Island Cemetery, the Common Burying Ground - Newport's public Colonial-era cemetery - and St. Mary's Cemetery, one of the earlier Irish immigrant cemeteries). Every time I wander through there I find something I hadn't noticed before. This time was no different.

I hadn't realized there was a memorial to the EgyptAir loss here in Island Cemetery. There's one out at Brenton Point in the area set aside for memorializing those lost at sea; that one is a rough granite slab with an inset bronze plaque memorializing the dead on that flight, much more like an actual monument than this one. This is pretty much an oversized headstone. Still, it's nice to find two such memorials to strangers lost at sea in this city.

This one is a hoot - local music impressario Mark Malkovich is still very much with us, but he already has his stone picked out and his place reserved. That is so Mark it's hilarious! He's the founder and the director emeritus of the Newport Music Festival, one of the premier classical music festivals in the US, held in the mansions on Bellevue Ave.

A very Anglophile monument. This style is very much in line with the classical revival style of William Morris and Edward Johnston in the 1880s and '90s in great Britain, and made it to the US around the turn of the century. I've seen many a book plate with exactly this kind of design.

To the left is the main door of the old chapel, no longer used and now sealed shut. It's very neo-Gothic and lovely, although in the Summer you can barely see it for the leaves of the ivy and other plants which have grown over it. On the right is a stone I just loved for the lettering and the design, and especially for the use of the red sandstone for the stone.

I found this especially poignant - a monument to two deceased infants. A grim reminder of what life was like a century and more ago.

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. I didn't know an Egypt Airlines plane went down in 1999 there.

    You should find out who did that red gravestone in that 1700s style. Very effective (if that is the right word)

  2. Tut, that's not 1700s style at all. It's very Arts and Crafts style, and I'd swear it had been carved by Eric Gill except that (a) Eric Gill was long dead by 1959 and (b) Gill never came to America; he was a purely British artist.

  3. We don't seem to go for headstones anymore. Just a modest plaque but . . I love the idea of writing your own epitaph. My family would think it gauche but I'm working on it. As a hack photographer, the main door of the chapel is wonderful.

  4. For Some Reason, Graveyards remind me of Libraries.(although, people are less likely to go "Shush,be quiet")
    Yes, now you mention it, that headstone is rather Gill-ian.Umm his influence spread far & wide.
    have A Fine Weekend Roy.

  5. I love your cemetery pictures. I have to admit, though, that last one almost made me cry.

  6. Lots can be learned from a trip to the cemetary. The pic with the two children is awfully sad though!