24 Cemetery Road

 
Town Cemetery

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.

Burials»

24 Cemetery Street

24 Cemetery Road, Town Cemetery, Robert Motherwell grave site, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

24 Cemetery Road, Town Cemetery, Robert Motherwell grave site, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

24 Cemetery Street, Town Cemetery, Nanno de Groot grave site, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

24 Cemetery Street, Town Cemetery, Nanno de Groot grave site, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

A tranquil way to visit some of the town’s most prominent citizens is to wander along Cemetery Road. The largest burial ground, at No. 24, has been known variously as Town Cemetery, Old Cemetery (to distinguish it from the burial ground on the east side of the road) or Cemetery No. 2 (to distinguish it from No. 1, at Winthrop Street). This cemetery is further divided into old and new sections. The new section is where you’ll find the greatest concentration of luminaries, where Norman Mailer and Robert Motherwell are neighbors — just as they were in life. It’s like the Forest Lawn of Provincetown.

24 Cemetery Road, Town Cemetery, Norman and Norris Church Mailer grave site, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

24 Cemetery Road, Town Cemetery, Norman and Norris Church Mailer grave site, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Rest in peace: ¶ Elise Asher, painter, and Stanley Kunitz, poet. ¶ Gwen Bloomingdale, aviator. ¶ Max Bohm, painter. ¶ Neith Boyce and Hutchins Hapgood, founders of the Provincetown Players. ¶ Nanno De Groot, painter, whose headstone is an abstract sculpture by his wife, the artist Pat De Groot. ¶ William Freed and Lillian Orlowsky, painters. ¶ John Gaspie, clam digger. ¶ Dorothy Lake Gregory and Ross Moffett, painters. ¶ Edwin Atkins Grozier, publisher. ¶ Rear Adm. Donald MacMillan and Miriam Look MacMillan, explorers. ¶ Norman Mailer, writer, and Norris Church Mailer, writer and painter. ¶ Irving Marantz, sculptor. ¶ Robert Motherwell, painter, whose headstone is a boulder with his signature cast on a bronze plate. ¶ James Wingate Parr, painter. ¶ Ilya and Resia Schor, artists. ¶ Avrom “Arlie” Sinaiko and Suzanne Sinaiko, artists. ¶ Kenneth Stubbs, painter. ¶ Dr. Clara Thompson, psychoanalyst. ¶ Jack Tworkov, painter. ¶ Mary Heaton Vorse, progressive activist and author of Time and the Town. ¶ Hudson Walker, art collector and patron, and Ione Gaul Walker, painter. ¶ John Whorf, painter, and his daughter, Nancy Whorf, painter. ¶ Donald Witherstine, artist and gallerist.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

25 Cemetery Road

 
New Cemetery
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»

25 Cemetery Road

25 Cemetery Road, Gifford Cemetery, memorial to the Great Rebellion, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

25 Cemetery Road, Gifford Cemetery, memorial to the Great Rebellion, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Two burial grounds that were once privately owned are now municipally run and sometimes referred to collectively as the New Cemetery. The old Hamilton Cemetery has only 92 lots. The Gifford Cemetery, which surrounds Hamilton like a fat L, has 251 lots and at least 27 Giffords, including the namesake of the Gifford House, James Gifford. Its most important monument commemorates those who fell in the “Great Rebellion.” Three hundred men from hereabouts went to fight the Confederacy. Eighteen did not return. Their memorial obelisk depicts interlocking emblems: a square-rigged sail, an anchor, crossed swords, rifles, cannons and cannon balls. The names of the dead are inscribed, including Josiah Cutter Freeman, son of the keeper of Long Point Light, who was aboard the wooden sloop Cumberland in 1862 when it was sunk by the Confederate ironclad Virginia, a milestone in naval warfare.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.