Vandals damage more than 150 gravesites at Evergreen Cemetery in Portland

Megan Gray, Portland Press Herald, Maine
·2 min read

Apr. 2—Portland police are investigating vandalism at Evergreen Cemetery after more than 150 monuments and gravesites were recently toppled or damaged.

"I'm always disheartened by such flagrant disregard for not only others' property, but for the memories of our community's loved ones," Chief Frank Clark said in a statement. "We have bolstered patrols in the cemeteries, and I would urge anyone with any information to contact the police department, even anonymously, to help us solve this senseless vandalism."

Witnesses reported seeing teenagers running away from the cemetery on Friday, according to a statement. But the extent of the damage indicates that it occurred over several days.

The city established the cemetery in 1854, and it is now a National Historical Landmark. A police spokesman said the oldest sections were the most affected, followed by the area near the ponds. The Friends of Evergreen posted on Facebook this week that one area that suffered damage was the lot for the Home for Aged Women.

"The women buried here were elderly, had little or no money nor did they have relatives who were able or willing to cared for them," the post said. "The home, which was opened in the 1850s, was the beginning of what is now known as 75 State Street."

The group posted an update Thursday and a photo of the headstones in their correct places. They said the cemetery crew was working to clean up the damage.

"No stones were broken and all are now upright," the post said. "Crew is now working in other areas where stones were toppled."

Police asked the public to report any suspicious activity and share any information that could help the department at (207) 874-8575. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to the department's tip line at (207) 874-8584 or by texting the keyword "PPDME" plus their message to 847411.