Not to be morbid about it, but the dead easily outnumber the living in Provincetown. That’s all right, though. They’re a very interesting lot — some of the town’s most prominent citizens, in fact — and well worth visiting. Apart from the old Winthrop Street burial ground, the town’s cemeteries are contiguous, so it’s easy to walk among them without being conscious of boundaries. The largest, with the official street address of 24 Cemetery Road, has been known variously as Town Cemetery, Old Cemetery (to distinguish it from the burial grounds on the east side of the road) or Cemetery No. 2 (to distinguish it from No. 1, at Winthrop Street). This big cemetery is further divided into old and new sections. The new section of the Old Cemetery is where you’ll find the greatest concentration of world-renowned luminaries, where Norman Mailer and Robert Motherwell are neighbors — just as they were in life. It’s rather like the Forest Lawn of Provincetown. Below is a list, very partial (in both senses), of the most interesting graves, stones, memorials and mausoleums.
On the east side of Cemetery Road, opposite — and virtually indistinguishable from — Town Cemetery, there are two burial grounds that were once privately owned. They are now municipally run and sometimes referred to collectively as the New Cemetery. The former Hamilton Cemetery, toward the north end of the road, has only 92 lots. (And no Hamiltons). Much larger, the former Gifford Cemetery surrounds Hamilton like a fat L. It has 251 lots and at least 27 Giffords, including the namesake of the Gifford House. By far the most important monument in either commemorates Provincetown’s fallen in the Civil War. More pictures and history»