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The Evergreen Cemetery Walk 2021

2020 certainly was a transformative year for the Evergreen Cemetery Walk. The Museum and our partners, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery and Illinois Voices Theatre Echoes, made history by successfully taking our longest running and most attended outreach event to an online platform—thanks to the excellent work by and support from our new partner Broadleaf Video Production. The video production of the Walk not only allowed us to continue to fulfill the primary mission of this event—to educate local students on the historic significance of cemeteries—but also to support members of our local theater community during a time when so many performing artists throughout the country and the world could not work. Additionally, our Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk allowed us to expand this signature event to new audiences who had not been able to experience the Walk before due to barriers such as geography and mobility.

Taking the lessons we learned last year into consideration as we move forward with planning for 2021, we are pleased to announce that we will be doing BOTH an in-person Walk and a Virtual Walk this fall. This hybrid model will allow us to continue to offer the Walk to all of the audiences we strive to serve, no matter where you live, where you go to school, or what your physical abilities may be.

The 2021 Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be held in-person on September 25-26 and October 2-3 with performances at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. each day.

**NOTE**The Museum continues to monitor the conditions that surround the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and how these conditions will impact our ability to hold future in-person programs. As long as health and safety guidelines from the CDC and State of Illinois allow for in-person programming at that time, we plan to host small group tours on the beautiful grounds of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery once again. No matter what, the show will go on!

Sponsorship

The Museum is also pleased to announce our sponsors for the 2021 Walk. Without them, we could not support over 2,000 students and chaperones, and older adults living in senior care facilities to be able to participate in the Walk free of charge (whether in-person or online)! Thank you to the following: Featured Sponsors- Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, Cumulus Radio Bloomington, Pantagraph Media; Premium Sponsors- CEFCU, Heartland Bank & Trust, WGLT, Illinois Farm Bureau, MCK CPAs & Advisors; Basic Sponsors- Bloomington Public Library, McLean County Chamber of Commerce.

Contact Norris Porter by clicking here for more information on how you can become a sponsor or advertise in our playbill. 2022 Sponsorship and Advertising information coming soon!

To access the 2021 Evergreen Cemetery Walk playbill, click the link below.

2021 Evergreen Cemetery Walk Playbill (5MB)

Overview

Every year the Evergreen Cemetery Walk brings the voices of McLean County's history to life. Costumed actors portray individuals representing all walks of life from the county's past on the beautiful grounds of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. This event serves about 3,500 people (mostly students) every year. To date, we have featured 190 different individuals from all walks of life, whose stories illustrate the impact the people of McLean County have had on history – locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. In addition, the impact of the Evergreen Cemetery Walk can be felt throughout the state and nation. 

This award-winning, nationally recognized interpretive program is often referred to as the "granddaddy" of all cemetery walks. Put on your walking shoes and bring your family to participate in this fascinating, outdoor theatrical program.

Evergreen Memorial Cemetery is one of the richest historical resources in our community. People from all walks of life are buried in this over 150 year old cemetery. Rich, poor, famous, infamous, loved or forgotten alike, they are all buried here. Evergreen provides an honorable resting place for all members of our community. 

This annual event is a collaboration between the McLean County Museum of History, Illinois Voices Theatre Echoes and Evergreen Memorial Cemetery

School Tours

The McLean County Museum of History is pleased to announce that all students participating in the School Tours of the 2021 Evergreen Cemetery Walk will attend for FREE. We are committed to reaching out to diverse communities and removing barriers so that we can help as many students as possible discover our local history. Through the generosity of this year's sponsor, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, with additional support from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation and support from our members, admission fees for students and chaperones (whether they participate in-person or virtually) for the 2021 Evergreen Cemetery Walk have been waived.

To access the Teacher Packet for the 2021 Evergreen Cemetery Walk, please click here

If you would like to start a Cemetery Walk in your community, download the Cem Walk How To Manual below.

Cem Walk How-To Manual 2019 (5MB)

Location

This year the cemetery walk is virtual, so you can watch it from anywhere in the world with an internet connection! The place that the individuals are buried (and where the cemetery walk is usually held) is Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, 302 E. Miller Street, Bloomington IL 61701. 

2022 Schedule


The 2022 Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be held in-person on September 24-25 and October 1-2 with performances at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. each day.

The Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be available to view on YouTube at a date to be announced later.

  • Saturday, September 24 — Sunday, October 2
  • Tours will be held at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on September 24-25 and October 1-2, 2022

  • Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, 302 E. Miller Street, Bloomington, IL

Tickets

Ticket sales are now on sale and can be purchased below, or by visiting the Museum’s Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center and Gift Shop and at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.

Individual tickets to participate will be $20 for the General Public, $18 for Museum members, and $8 for children or students with ID.

Tickets purchased to participate in the Walk will help support over 2,000 students, chaperones, and older adults living in senior care facilities to be able to participate in the Walk free of charge! We are not exaggerating when we say that we could not do any of this without you—our members—and your unwavering support.

If you have any questions about purchasing a ticket, please contact Candace Summers, Director of Community Education, by clicking here.

Use this link to access the 2021 EVERGREEN CEMETERY WALK TICKET HOLDER INFORMATION

Use this link to access the Viewing Instructions for the 2021 Evergreen Cemetery Walk

Give Additional Support

Ticket sales only cover about 1/3 of Cemetery Walk program expenses. Please consider making an extra gift to support the Cemetery Walk to help provide free participation for our schools and senior care facilities, and to keep public tickets affordable.

Featured Characters 2022

  • Paul F. Beich (1864-1937)
  • Paul F. Beich (1864-1937)
  • Paul F. Beich was a German immigrant who worked in the candy-making business, first as a salesman and later launching his own company in St. Louis. After purchasing a company in Bloomington, Beich convinced Milton Hershey to move his caramel-making division there from Chicago. Just as Hershey’s is known for its chocolate, Beich’s is known for its Whiz Bars, Katydids, and Laffy Taffy. A visitor to Evergreen Cemetery, where two of his children are buried, Beich is buried at Park Hill Cemetery.

  • Read Full Biography

  • James P. Butler (1838-1918)
  • James P. Butler (1838-1918)
  • James Preston Butler was a tinsmith, butcher, grocer, policeman, tax collector, alderman, constable, deputy sheriff, and hotel owner, perhaps best known for his work as a detective in high-profile murder cases. He tracked down Patsey Devine, who was later hung for the crime of murder in Clinton, Illinois, and helped convict the murderer of Zura Burns in Lincoln, Illinois. A small but powerful man, Butler could defend himself against attackers—both physically and verbally—and did.

  • Read Full Biography

  • David Davis (1815-1886)
  • David Davis (1815-1886)
  • Featured with Sarah Davis

  • David and Sarah Davis were married in October of 1838 and lived at Clover Lawn, then a farm at the edge of town, now an elegant mansion and grounds celebrating its 150th anniversary. As David often worked away from home as a lawyer, judge, and statesman, the couple spent much of their marriage apart, maintaining their loving relationship through letters, while Sarah managed the affairs of their estate and construction of their new home in Bloomington.

  • Read Full Biography

  • Sarah Davis (1814-1879)
  • Sarah Davis (1814-1879)
  • Featured with David Davis

  • Sarah and David were married in October of 1838 and lived at Clover Lawn, then a farm at the edge of town, now an elegant mansion and grounds celebrating its 150th anniversary. As David often worked away from home as a lawyer, judge, and statesman, the couple spent much of their marriage apart, maintaining their loving relationship through letters, while Sarah managed the affairs of their estate and construction of their new home in Bloomington.

  • Read Full Biography

  • Alexander G. Erickson (1863-1950)
  • Alexander G. Erickson (1863-1950)
  • Alexander G. Erickson, of Swedish heritage, worked in coal mines on Bloomington’s west side as a child and grew up to be an alderman, mayor, and commissioner of public health and safety for the City. A Republican precinct committeeman for forty years, he was on the Bloomington Board of Education for twelve. As the public health commissioner, he guided the city through such difficult events as a 1916 polio outbreak, the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919, and a garbage strike.

  • Read Full Biography

  • Helen Clark McCurdy (1866-1962)
  • Helen Clark McCurdy (1866-1962)
  • Helen Clark McCurdy was the first woman to run for elected office in Bloomington municipal government, one of ten candidates to make it onto the ballot for commissioner in 1915. She campaigned heavily to literally clean up the city, as garbage collection had been a huge issue! The daughter of a merchant, McCurdy worked as a store clerk, but later married a prominent businessman, rising in social class. Intensely civic-minded, she worked with the Women’s Club, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.

  • Read Full Biography

  • Ella Lee Stokes (1912-1996)
  • Ella Lee Stokes (1912-1996)
  • Ella Lee Stokes was born in Mississippi and moved to Tennessee with her mother when she was four. First educated in one-room schoolhouses in the South, she attended several local grade schools and half a semester at Bloomington High School. A Black woman employed largely in the service industry, she aspired to achieve more. She worked for Williams-Oil-O-Matic, cleaning parts for ships and airplanes during World War II; and as a housekeeper in Bloomington’s “Red Light District.”

  • Read Full Biography

Past Character Biographies

To read biographies of individuals featured on past Cemetery Walks, visit the biographies page of our online resources.

Questions? Please contact the Museum's Education department 309-827-0428 or via email education@mchistory.org.