‘Interesting People’: Saints And Sinners Tours Again Bring History To Life
The tours look at about a dozen people buried in Lake View Cemetery with interesting stories to tell. With over 46,000 people buried at the cemetery, the Fenton History Center makes sure to focus on different people each year.
Janet Wahlberg, Fenton board president, said the focus of the tours is not only on those who are known for doing good deeds.
“We try to mix people who have done wonderful things that are interesting and helpful to society with those who have done things that are maybe not so good,” Wahlberg said. “We take the time to find volunteers that are willing to portray these people and they dress up as them during our tours and talk.”
Wahlberg gave an example of Warren Trim, an early settler who had a homestead and left for Kansas and then came back. During this season’s tours there will be two volunteers dressed as Trim and his wife, and they will have a conversation about things such as the decision to come back.
All stops on the tour will include something similar with volunteers dressed as people they are talking about. There are three different types of tours — a walking tour, a carriage ride tour and a mausoleum tour. Each tour takes a different route through the cemetery and, in the in-between spaces, the tour guides provide information on Lake View Cemetery such as when it was established and how many people are buried there. Wahlberg said there are three Medal of Honor recipients buried in the cemetery and other interesting places such as Soldiers Circle.
“The tours cover anything really,” Wahlberg said. “This year we have a range from a man who died in 1804 to a lady who just died who survived a Russian concentration camp. We have another lady from the 60s or 70s and a former slave. We try to find interesting people.”
Additionally, Wahlberg said the tours are special because they follow along with the Fenton History Center’s mission on education. She said the tours educate people by telling the stories of not only famous or well-known people of the area but the “little people” as well.
“These people are not necessarily big but they have a story to tell,” Wahlberg said. “From people like school teachers or immigrants, these people are the ones who spark interest. The tours cover both big and small people and it is a great place to walk. Anyone interested in history will love it.”
The carriage and walking tours take place on Oct. 7 and 14. The carriage tours are already sold out with a lengthy waiting list. The mausoleum tours take place on Oct. 15 from 8-10 p.m. and cover one mausoleum in the cemetery, also with live volunteer actors telling the story.
All information and tickets can be found at the Fenton History Center’s website, fentonhistorycenter.org.
The Fenton History Center has been hosting the tours for about 19 years now and Wahlberg said she hopes to see both new and familiar faces this year.
“It’s a really wonderful way to spend an hour,” Wahlberg said. “The cemetery is a beautiful place to walk in.”