Togus National Cemetery
Office Hours: Please contact the Massachusetts National Cemetery at the number above Monday thru Friday - 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for information.
Visitation Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk.
Togus National Cemetery is closed to new interments. The only interments that are being accepted are subsequent interments for veterans or eligible family members in an existing gravesite. Periodically however, burial space may become available due to a canceled reservation or when a disinterment has been completed. When either of these two scenarios occurs, the gravesite is made available to another eligible veteran on a first-come, first-served basis. Since there is no way to know in advance when a gravesite may become available, please contact the cemetery at the time of need to inquire whether space is available.
From Portland Municipal Airport, travel in Interstate 95 North to Exit 14 (Gardiner) or Exit 15 (Augusta). The VA Medical Center is six miles equal distance from Gardiner or Augusta. From Gardiner, travel on Maine Route 226. From Augusta travel on Maine Route 17 to the cemetery.
Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
Floral arrangements accompanying the casket or urn at the time of burial will be placed on the completed grave. Natural cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time of the year. They will be removed when they become unsightly or when it becomes necessary to facilitate cemetery operations such as mowing. Water is available at outside faucets from April 15 to Oct. 10.
The cemetery will provide temporary floral containers to the public for displaying floral arrangements. Containers such as pots, baskets, etc. are not authorized. Privately owned, permanent in-ground flower containers are not allowed.
Artificial flowers will be permitted on graves from Oct. 10 through April 15 and may be removed when their presence interferes with grounds maintenance.
Potted plants will be allowed on graves for a period extending 10 days before through 10 days after Easter Sunday.
Christmas wreaths, grave pillows (3x2) and other seasonal adornments may be placed on graves from Dec. 1 through Jan. 20. They may not be secured to headstones or markers.
Flags and flag holders are not permitted on graves at any time. The Avenue of Flags, which consists of donated casket flags, is displayed on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and other special occasions in lieu of individual grave flags.
Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, wind chimes, breakable objects and similar items are not permitted on cemetery grounds. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not permit adornments that are considered offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery or considered hazardous to cemetery personnel. For example, items incorporating beads or wires may become entangled in mowers or other equipment and cause injury.
Unauthorized items removed from graves and surrounding areas will be disposed of in a proper manner.
VA regulations 38 CFR 1.218 prohibit the carrying of firearms (either openly or concealed), explosives or other dangerous or deadly weapons while on VA property, except for official purposes, such as military funeral honors. Possession of firearms on any property under the charge and control of VA is prohibited. Offenders may be subject to a fine, removal from the premises, or arrest.
Togus National Cemetery is located in Kennebec County, in the town of Chelsea, Maine, on the grounds of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Regional Office Center.
The name Togus comes from the Native American name Worromontogus, which means mineral water. The Togus property was originally a summer resort called Togus Springs. It was owned and operated by Horace Beals, a wealthy granite merchant from Rockland, Maine, who hoped to establish a racing and resort community like Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He invested over $250,000 in a hotel, stables, bowling alley, farmhouse, bathhouse, driveways and racetrack. The untimely resort opened in 1859 but failed to generate business due to the Civil War. The resort, known locally as "Beals' Folly," closed in 1863. Beals died shortly after his business failed and the government obtained the property for $50,000. The spot was selected because of its isolation from large cities, well-known spring and bargain price tag.
In 1865, as the Civil War was drawing to a close, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act establishing the National Asylum (later changed to Home) for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The Eastern Branch at Togus was the first of these facilities to open, in November 1866.
The first veteran was admitted to Togus on Nov. 10, 1866. The home’s population remained below 400 until a building program began in 1868, which eventually provided accommodation for nearly 3,000 veterans. The facilities were organized much like a military camp with men living in barracks and wearing modified Army uniforms. Although a 100-bed hospital was completed in 1870, medical care at the home was limited, even by the standards of the day.
Togus was a relatively isolated location until 1890, when a narrow-gauge railroad from the Kennebec River in Randolph and an electric trolley line from Augusta were completed. These transportation improvements led to the home becoming a popular excursion destination for Sunday picnics. The grounds featured a zoo, hotel and theater that brought shows directly from Broadway. Band concerts were also held there regularly. The facility became part of the Veterans Administration (VA) in July 1930 when all agencies administering benefits to veterans were consolidated.
Togus National Cemetery is divided into a West Cemetery and an East Cemetery, with a total of 31 acres. The older West Cemetery was established in 1865 and moved to its present location west of the home about 1867; it closed for interments in 1936. To continue providing burial space, the East Cemetery was established in 1936 and closed for interments in 1961.
Monuments and Memorials
Soldier's Monument - established 1889
Soldier's and Sailor's Monument - date unknown
Mausoleum/crypt - established in the 1890s.