Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery

FOG Event – This Saturday!!

Just a reminder that this Saturday, June 9th, FOG will be hosting it’s spring event.  This event is a tour through Greenlawn Cemetery featuring Artists, Authors, and Poets.  The Dickson Memorial Chapel will be open from 9:30AM-1:00PM for viewing, sales, and donations with the tour itself departing from the chapel at 10:00AM.

Items available for sale at the event can be previewed from our new FOG gear page here.  There will also be some paintings and a print by Debra Freeman Highberger up for silent auction (pictured below).

We hope to see you there!


Scenic painting of Greenlawn Cemetery

Painting of a quiet space in Greenlawn


Scenic painting of Greenlawn Cemetery

Painting of Sargent Pond


Fountain Pond

Print of Painting of Fountain Pond




Birdwatching and Gardening in May

Guided Bird Walk

Despite being situated in the middle of a busy urban area, Greenlawn Cemetery offers a peaceful respite for many species of flora and fauna that one would typically not see this close to downtown.  Some of the more well-known inhabitants are of the feathered sort – the birds who make Greenlawn their home or their layover on a long flight home.  To date, Greenlawn’s most dedicated birdwatchers have seen over 100 different species within the cemetery.

Bright and early on May 13, 2018, Charlie Lipson led a group of folks through Greenlawn on a guided bird walk.  The skies were overcast but that did not deter the group from being able to catch over 25 different species of birds up and at ’em that morning.  The usual visitors were present – a Black-Crowned Night Heron (our mascot), a Double-crested Cormorant, a few Mallards, and some Red-Winged Blackbirds to name a few.  The group was also graced with a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird flyby!


FOG Guided Birdwalk - May 13, 2018

Early risers enjoying those on flight


FOG Guided Birdwalk - May 13, 2018

Dedicated watchers with their binoculars


Thanks to all who came out for the guided bird walk!  It was a successful event and folks got to learn a lot about birds, trees, and shrubs.


Conservatory Garden Clean-up

About a week later on May 19, 2018, a group of folks took to sprucing up the Conservatory Garden next to the Dickson Memorial Chapel.  Flowers were planted, mulch was laid, and weeds were pulled as volunteers helped to clean up the garden that lies where the old conservatory used to be.  Mr. Dickson would be proud of the work these folks pulled off!


Conservatory Garden Clean-up - May 19, 2018

Polly, Denise, Michelle, Denise, and Richard (not pictured) did a great job!


Conservatory Garden Clean-up - May 19, 2018

Mulch, mulch, and more mulch!


Conservatory Garden Clean-up - May 19, 2018

A view of the finished product


Conservatory Garden Clean-up - May 19, 2018

Another angle on work well done!


Thanks again to Polly, Denise, Michelle, Denise, and Richard for all their hard work cleaning up the garden!  Thanks also to the Sean and his Greenlawn Cemetery crew who keep the grounds looking good.  Oh – and thanks to those who worked hard last year planting bulbs so that we could enjoy their colorful blooms this year!

Save the date – our Spring Tour is right around the corner!



Artist, Authors and Poets

When : Saturday June 9th
Time: 10AM
The Chapel will be open for viewing, sales, and donations from 9:30AM -1PM
Where: The Dickson Memorial Chapel

Friends of Greenlawn will hold an Artists, Authors, and Poets tour in Greenlawn Cemetery at 10AM.  The tour will begin from the Dickson Memorial Chapel and is free.  The event is also a fundraiser for the Friends’ preservation and restoration efforts for the 1894 Dickson Chapel.  There will be Greenlawn related items both for sale and by silent auction. (Check out our brand new FOG gear page for a taste of what will be available.)

Among the stories on the tour will be the lives of people like Kate Tannatt Woods, who was a Salem public school teacher, a volunteer nurse at the front during the Civil War, a journalist, and author of many juvenile novels; and William Rowe Coane, a scenic artist and photographer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Chapel is located just off the rotary inside the gates at 57 Orne Street in North Salem.  There is parking outside the gates along Orne Street and inside Greenlawn around the Chapel.

Phase I Completion Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

On Tuesday, November 28th, 2017, the Friends of Greenlawn and the City of Salem had the honor of celebrating the completion of Phase I restoration work on the Dickson Memorial Chapel with an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony.  The event was well attended and we thank you all who could come and show your support for this historic endeavor!  A big thank you as well to Mayor Kim Driscoll and her staff for helping to make the event such a success!

The Salem News featured the event on their front page the following day (Wednesday, November 29th), so I’ll link that here and let them tell you all about the event:

Wed, Nov 29, 2017 – “Salem officials celebrate first phase of restoration at historic chapel”

Salem News included a video with the online edition of the article that shows part of the ceremony and some more of the chapel, as well as the recently restored Rose Window on the east side of the chapel.




Update on Recent Happenings

Our June 11th lecture was a big success!

As you might remember from our last post here, we hosted an event back on June 11th that featured a wonderful lecture by Ms. Meg Winslow, the Curator of Historical Collections for Mount Auburn Cemetery located in Cambridge, MA.

Ms. Winslow highlighted the efforts undertaken over the years to ensure the preservation of Mount Auburn as a rural cemetery landscape while also continuing to serve its most base purpose – as an active cemetery.  Her lecture also emphasized similarities between Mount Auburn and our beloved Greenlawn Cemetery as well as many other connections between Mount Auburn and notables of Salem, MA.

It was also interesting to hear what has been accomplished at Mount Auburn and I know that it made a few of us starry-eyed at the possibilities in the future for Greenlawn Cemetery.  Thank you so much Ms. Meg Winslow for the inspiration!


Restoration of the “Rose Window” on the Dickson Memorial Chapel

I promise that a run down of what we’ve been up to in our absence on this blog is coming soon.  In the meantime, it seemed appropriate and timely to share one of our recent milestones as far as restoration work being down within Greenlawn Cemetery.

As part of the Phase 1 restoration work being performed on the Dickson Memorial Chapel, one of the beautiful stained glass windows known as the “rose window” was removed from the chapel some months ago in order to be repaired and restored.  On June 16, 2017, Jonathan and David from Custom Stained Glass out of South Easton, MA reinstalled the  rose window.  These two gentlemen also were the ones who restored the stained glass and the window’s framework is now also painted in its original “Essex Green” paint!

(all photos below taken by Christine Lutts, one of our Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery co-chairs)



David and Jonathan from Custom Stained Glass



Look at that Essex Green trim!  Such a rich color.



A view of the rose window from inside the chapel


The Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery would like to thank Jonathan and David for their care and expertise in restoring the rose window.  We would also like to thank the many, many folks who have helped make it possible for this work to be carried out!  Thank you all so much!



Friends of Greenlawn gear available

The Friends of Greenlawn Spring Event this Sunday will have FOG long and short sleeve t-shirts and ball caps for sale. The Black Crowned Night Heron is our mascot! He is featured on our tee shirts and ball caps 🙂

If you can not make it on Sunday, please email the to arrange a purchase. Thank you for your support!

Spring Event on June 11, 2017 (and we’re back!)

Hi there!  Our website is going to be undergoing some updates over the next few weeks, so please keep checking back with us.

The Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery are holding a spring event on Sunday, June 11, 2017 (this Sunday) and you are all invited!  Please join us for a wonderful lecture on Mount Auburn Cemetery, whose own rural cemetery design served as a model for many rural cemeteries in the United States, including our very own Greenlawn Cemetery.

June 11 2017 - event

Notables Buried at Greenlawn: John Phillip Rilley

“Extraordinary bravery and coolness”.      Image


Landsman John Phillip Rilley (or Riley) was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Spanish-American War when he was just 21 years old. His citation notes: “On board the U.S.S. Nashville during the operation of cutting the cable leading from Cienfuegos, Cuba, 11 May 1898. Facing the heavy fire of the enemy, Rilley displayed extraordinary bravery and coolness throughout this action”


From “The mission was a daring operation to cut undersea cables linking the Spanish fortifications at Cienfuegos with the rest of the world. Destruction of the cables was ordered to disrupt communications. In two boats, sailors from the USS Nashville and the USS Marblehead were joined by a Marine guard as they moved within 15 feet of the enemy shore, under fire from the hidden enemy, to dredge up and cut two such cables. During the 80 minute operation, the cable cutting party was under constant enemy fire from a short range, while they coolly dredged the cables across the bow of their boats, then cut through them with hacksaws.”


Mr. Rilley was born in 1877 in AllentownPA, and died in Salem November 16, 1950.


Tree Inventory at Greenlawn (Post updated January 2019 with NEW link)

Update Jan 2019: We have a NEW tree map!  The older one may still work for a bit longer but it is due to be taken offline in the near future.

Here’s our NEW Tree Inventory at Greenlawn .

This interactive map of Greenlawn Cemetery, Salem, MA, pinpoints the location of many specimens of trees.

2012 Caroling: The Chapel


Here’s a wonderful photo by Christine Lutts of Dickson Chapel at Greenlawn, during last weekend’s caroling get-together. Unfortunately, the luminaria (candle lighting of Dearborn Street) couldn’t take place due to the rain.

Dickson Chapel