Riverside Cemetery is located on the ancestral fishing, hunting and agricultural grounds inhabited by the Abenaki and Wabenaki people for thousands of years.

People of European descent first came to the area in 1770, settling on land claimed by a Boston-based company called the Pejebscot Proprietors. By 1790, Lewiston – named for a Boston merchant, Job Lewis – had become a settlement of 532 people.

Riverside Cemetery was incorporated in 1855, after a group of city leaders purchased land from the Maine State Seminary – a school which would later become Bates College. The property included the already-established Greenwood Cemetery, which had been in use since the 1830s. It also incorporated farm land owned by the Whipple Family.

Among the original founders of the cemetery were William P. Frye, Alonzo Garcelon, Amos Nevins, Daniel Hamilton, Samuel Bearce, Armis Nash, Samuel Haley and Donald Holland. Designed as a rural cemetery similar to Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA, the serpentine roads of the oldest part of the Riverside’s grounds curve among magnificent old oaks and maples overlooking the Androscoggin River. Later development of the cemetery focused on the lawn style of cemetery design which allowed for more symmetrical organization of the lots. Tall obelisks, mausoleums and statuary dot the landscape.

The brick residence situated by the cemetery gates was built in the 1850s.

Many historically important men and women are buried at Riverside, including twenty-four Mayors, two Governors, one Civil War General, one US Senator and more than 1200 veterans of wars dating back to the Revolutionary War. The earliest recorded burial was in 1834, Dean Frye, Esquire.