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The Evergreen Cemetery Walk 2022

Over the course of the past two years, the Evergreen Cemetery Walk has been forced to navigate some major challenges, including being forced to go fully remote in 2020, and then last year, reducing capacity through a hybrid format due to the continued COVID 19 pandemic. But the Museum and our partners, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery and Illinois Voices Theatre Echoes, met those challenges head on and none of that ever stopped the Walk from happening. In fact, these challenges forced organizers to enhance the event to continue to meet the needs of new audiences who had not been able to experience the Walk before due to barriers such as geography and mobility.

Because of all of this, the Evergreen Cemetery Walk is back and better than ever before for another monumental year, and we are pleased to announce a continued commitment to providing a live in-person Walk in conjunction with a pre-recorded online offering thanks to our partner Broadleaf Video Management.

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 2022 Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be viewable through November 30, 2022 on the Museum's YouTube channel. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS IT.

Download the Viewing Instructions for the Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk 2022 here.

Click this link to download the 2022 Evergreen Cemetery Walk Playbill.

Click here to download the 2022 Burial Location Map for this year's feature characters.

Sponsorship

The Museum is also pleased to announce our sponsors for the 2022 Walk. Because of their support, the Museum can again ensure that over 2,000 students and chaperones, and additional older adults living in senior care facilities, are able to participate in this year’s Walk free of charge (whether in-person or online)! Without support from our sponsors and community members, we would not be able to fulfill the primary mission of this event—to educate local students on the historic significance of cemeteries.

Thank you to the following: Featured Sponsors: Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, Cumulus Radio Bloomington, Pantagraph Media; Premium: CEFCU, Heartland Bank, WGLT, Illinois Farm Bureau, MCK CPAs & Advisor; Deanna Frautschi & Alan Bedell, Bloomington-Normal Convention & Visitors Bureau Basic: McLean County Chamber of CommerceDunbar, Breitweiser, & Company, LLP, The Painted Wraith Curiosity Shoppe, LLC.

Contact Norris Porter by clicking here for more information on how you can become a sponsor or advertise in our playbill, or download the PDFs below!

2022 Cemetery Walk Sponsorship Information (913KB)

2022 Cemetery Walk Advertising Information (701KB)

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 201 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 2022 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 Feature Sponsors: Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, Cumulus Radio Bloomington, Pantagraph Media, and support from our members, admission fees for students and chaperones (whether they participate in-person or virtually) for the 2022 Evergreen Cemetery Walk have been waived.

To access the Teacher Packet for the 2022 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

The Evergreen Cemetery Walk is held on the beautiful grounds of 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 IS NOW AVAILABLE to view on YouTube through November 30, 2022. CLICK HERE TO WATCH IT!

You can access the Viewing Instructions for Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk 2022 using this link.

  • 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

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, Senior Director of Education, by clicking here.

Use this link to access in-person Ticket Holder information.

CLICK HERE to access the Virtual Walk on YouTube through November 30, 2022.

Download the Viewing Instructions for Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk 2022 here.

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

  • Download Student 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

  • Download Student 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. Weekend Only

  • 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

  • Download Student 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. She was 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, which increased her social standing. Intensely civic-minded, she worked with the Women’s Club, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.

  • Read Full Biography

  • Download Student 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

  • Download Student 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.