Pictured above in last year’s tour was librarian Lenora Porter, 1872-1948. Sue Buese at right portrayed Porter, who secured Allegan’s Carnegie Library.Pictured at right was Chris Hodge portraying an uncanny likeness of William B. Williams, at left, 1826-1905, who was a lawyer, judge, Civil War captain, state senator, Congressional representative and railroad commissioner. (File photo)

Characters come to life for Allegan's upcoming cemetery tour

By: 
Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

Bringing ancestors back to life to share some of the area’s unique history, The Oakwood Cemetery Living History Tour will celebrate its fifth season on Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3.

The Allegan County Historical Society cemetery tour will visit the gravesites of three men and three women who will tell their life stories of adventure, heartache and perseverance.

“A few were well-known artisans in the community,” said tour chairperson Amanda Strickfaden, who keeps the identities secret until the tour. “We have five returning actors and one new individual.”

Many of the actors hail from the Allegan Community Players and dress in the period their character lived. Each stop on the tour is narrated by a docent who gives the historic background of the deceased and the actors bring the characters to life.

Dressed in black and leaving a lone flower on graves are mourners who tidy up by praying for the loved ones to rest in peace.

A special stop will be made to pay respects at the gravesite of John Pahl, Allegan’s most prolific storyteller and founder of the historical society who passed away Dec. 31, 2016, at the ripe old age of 96.

Souvenir programs will be handed out following the tour for a keepsake of history.

The 1920 cemetery chapel will be open during tours. On the National Register of Historic Places, the chapel will be where tours start. It will have mourning artifacts on display and refreshments will be served.

Tours start at 5 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. New tours start every 20 minutes (5:00, 5:20, 5:40, 6:00, 6:20 and 6:40). Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available for $8, cash or check only, at Something Sweet, 109 Locust St., Allegan.

Portions of the proceeds will go toward gravestone cleaning and repair at Oakwood Cemetery. Last year, around 50 gravestones were cleaned. This year, beginning June 10, volunteers plan to start on repairs as well as cleaning.

If interested in volunteering, email oakwoodcemeterytour@gmail.com or call the Old Jail Museum at (269) 673-8292.

 

 

 

 

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