With more than 43,000 names, dates and stories, the Lake View Cemetery is one of the area's best ways to learn about local history.
Realizing the wealth of knowledge ready to be uncovered there, the Fenton History Center will help the public learn about local individuals and families who have passed with its annual Saints and Sinners Cemetery Tours coming up during the next two weekends. Visitors will watch history come to life as they embark on a walking tour of the grounds and are told stories of about a dozen people with fascinating pasts.
"For some of the stops on the tour you will hear stories from the guides and some you will hear from actors who are portraying not necessarily the deceased but maybe a family member telling the story," said Joni Blackman, director of the Fenton History Center. "There are a lot of important people from Jamestown's past and they've got some great stories."
During the next two weekends, the Fenton History Center will be telling some of the stories of those buried at Lake View Cemetery .
P-J Photo by Rich Place
On the next two Saturdays, the tours begin at 1 p.m. and depart throughout the afternoon and into the evening. This gives the public a great opportunity to choose what kind of atmosphere they want to encompass their journey through the cemetery. Those who would rather go at night are asked to bring a flashlight.
"There's some fascination that people have about walking around in the dark in a cemetery," Ms. Blackman said. "I don't know what it is, but it is a natural pull. And then there are those people that think it is way too scary or useless to them, and they want to be in the light."
The tour takes an informative look at those in the community who have passed, and shies away from telling ghost stories and tall tales. This doesn't mean that true, accurate history cannot be presented in an entertaining way, and the Fenton History Center has proven that in the past. Last year, about 720 people were taken through the Lake View Cemetery grounds on one of the tours.
"We are all about facts," Ms. Blackman said. "We are about the real people and the real thing. Those stories are better than any ghost story you'll ever come up with."
Some of the stories guests on the tour will hear include the tale of Eaton Moses, a homeless yet brilliant man who had Robert Jackson speak at his funeral, another resident who was a self-made industrialist and a family who went through some troubled times with their children. Not necessarily famous today, these were people who have quite an interesting history that few people know about. With thousands of potential stories that can be told at the cemetery, people who have taken the tour in the past are welcome to come back for a completely different experience with new stories.
In addition to the cemetery tours offered on two Saturday nights, the Fenton History Center is extending the learning experience by offering Twilight Mausoleum Tours on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. New this year, this tour will tell the stories about those entombed at a handful of mausoleums at Lake View. Light refreshments will also be served at these tours.
Tickets for any of these tours can be purchased at the Fenton's Museum Store or by calling 664-6256. The Saints and Sinners Cemetery Tours take place on Oct. 10 and 17 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., and there are 11 starting times to choose from. Tickets are $8 for adults and $2 for children.
The Twilight Mausoleum Tours are on Oct. 11 and 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person and $25 for a couple. A limited amount of tickets are sold the day of the tours, but the public is encouraged to purchase them beforehand.