by David King
The cemetery has long been a sacred place, reserved for silent reflection and mourning of loved ones. Seemingly removed from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. So separated are they that even though many of us pass by them everyday, we rarely consider the significance of these patches of land.
In an effort to change that, this summer the Friends of Historic Kingston will offer free guided tours of six of Kingston's cemeteries, giving all those interested the chance to learn more about the long and fascinating history of this 350+ year-old city. Participants will visit the graves of many notable residents, such as the founding father George Clinton, the first governor of New York state and the country's fourth vice-president. The tour will also include the graves of acclaimed neoclassicist artist John Vanderlyn, whose massive paintings now hang in the US Capitol Rotunda and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, soldiers from the US Civil War Colored Infantry who left their homes and families to take up the fight for the freedom of their brethren, as well as many other notable residents.
Beginning with a tour of Montrepose Cemetery on Sunday, June 15, the program will tour one cemetery each week over the course of the summer, and will also include a special presentation on the architecture and landscaping of the city’s cemeteries on July 27. All events will take place on Sunday at 2pm, rain or shine. For more information, including a full schedule of the cemeteries visited and exact meeting places, visit the Friends of Historic Kingston on Facebook or their website.