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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. 

2021 Schedule


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.

The Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be available to view November 1 through December 31, 2021.

  • Saturday, September 25 — Sunday, October 3
  • Tours will be held at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on September 25-26 and October 2-3, 2021

  • 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 in the in-person event will be $20 for the General Public, $18 for Museum members, and $5 for children or students with ID.

Household tickets to view the Virtual Walk online will be $25 for the general public and $20 for Museum members. A household ticket means that anyone in your immediate household can view the virtual event online at any time—and as many times—between November 1 through December 31.

Additionally, those who wish to attend the in-person Walk and view the Virtual Walk can purchase a ticket for both for just $30.

Tickets purchased to participate in the Walk (whether in-person or online) 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.

TICKET FAQ

  1. Will you still be having in-person performances of the Evergreen Cemetery Walk this year? YES. Currently, we are still planning on doing in-person performances of the 2021 Evergreen Cemetery Walk. The Museum follows all current health and safety guidelines according to the Restore Illinois Phased Plan for Reopening and CDC Guidelines. If COVID-19 cases continue to rise, guidelines become more restrictive, or our zone is forced to go back to an earlier Phase of the Restore Illinois Plan (where attendance at in-person events is limited), the in-person portion of the event will be canceled.
  2. Will you be limiting the number of people in each tour group this year? YES. We will be limiting the number of people in each tour group this year to roughly 20 people per group (that is half of the capacity of a typical year). 120 people will be able to attend each date/time this year.
  3. Will there be gate ticket sales at the event this year? MAYBE. There may be no gate ticket sales this year if tickets sell out in advance (There are 120 tickets for each performance for sale). We strongly recommend buying tickets in advance by purchasing online (see links below), over the phone, or at the Museum or Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. We will be posting regular updates about ticket sales on social media and through normal media outlets.
  4. Do I need to wear a face mask at the in-person Evergreen Cemetery Walk? YES. Face masks will be required to be worn at all times, regardless of vaccination status, by everyone over the age of 2 upon arrival at the Cemetery for the event. No exceptions.

If you have any additional 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

  • SOLD OUT In-Person
  • $20 (Public) $18 (Member) $5 (Student w/ID)
  • Purchase Tickets

  • Virtual
  • $25 (Public) $20 (Member)
  • Household Ticket Member Coupon Code CW21MEMBER
  • Purchase Ticket

  • SOLD OUT Hybrid
  • $30
  • Good for one (1) ticket to attend in-person and for household access to the Virtual Walk
  • Purchase Ticket

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 2021

  • George Carman (1838-1868)
  • George Carman (1838-1868)
  • George Carman was a printer, writer, actor, and public speaker, who served as a Union soldier in the U.S. Civil War, writing letters back to the Pantagraph in the voice of “Boswell,” a figure he had created earlier in newspaper editorials. “Boswell” was known for his humor, wordplay, knowledge of Shakespeare, and strong opinions. Honorably discharged from the McLean County Regiment for a lung ailment, Carman died of tuberculosis at the age of 29. Weekends Only

  • Read Full Biography

  • Read Student Biography

  • Alverta Duff (1885-1968)
  • Alverta Duff (1885-1968)
  • Featured with Julia Duff

  • Alverta Duff  and Julia Duff belonged to one of the earliest African American families to establish themselves in Normal, buying land from town founder Jesse Fell. Alverta did domestic work for the Stevenson family. Julia moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma to teach. Alverta and sister Janie went to Tulsa to nurse Julia during the 1918 flu pandemic. The Duff sisters later bore witness to a horror of American history, the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.

  • Read Full Biography

  • Read Student Biography

  • Julia Duff (1895-1984)
  • Julia Duff (1895-1984)
  • Featured with Alverta Duff

  •  Julia Duff and Alverta Duff belonged to one of the earliest African American families to establish themselves in Normal, buying land from town founder Jesse Fell. Alverta did domestic work for the Stevenson family. Julia moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma to teach. Alverta and sister Janie went to Tulsa to nurse Julia during the 1918 flu pandemic. The Duff sisters later bore witness to a horror of American history, the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.

  • Read Full Biography

  • Read Student Biography

  • Dr. William Hill (1829-1906)
  • Dr. William Hill (1829-1906)
  • Dr. William Hill was a surgeon in the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. When he came to Bloomington shortly after the war, some disliked him as a Democrat and suspected “bodysnatcher.” But he became well-liked and respected as a witty, outspoken, and tender man who played the violin to his child patients. He lost his only son to complications from a dog bite, and his youngest daughter Daisy married architect Arthur Pillsbury. 

  • Read Full Biography

  • Read Student Biography

  • Hilda Livingston (1891-1962)
  • Hilda Livingston (1891-1962)
  • Featured with Sigmund Livingston

  • Sigmund and Hilda Livingston are guest voices in this year’s Cemetery Walk. For over 20 years, Sigmund was the law partner of William Bach, who is buried in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. Sigmund founded the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith to fight anti-Semitism and promote justice. A respected Bloomington lawyer and orator, Sigmund later joined a firm in Chicago. Raised in Elgin, Hilda moved to Bloomington with Sigmund, and raised one son, Richard.

  • Read Full Biography

  • Read Student Biography

  • Sigmund Livingston (1872-1946)
  • Sigmund Livingston (1872-1946)
  • Featured with Hilda Livingston

  • Sigmund and Hilda Livingston are guest voices in this year’s Cemetery Walk. For over 20 years, Sigmund was the law partner of William Bach, who is buried in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. Sigmund founded the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith to fight anti-Semitism and promote justice. A respected Bloomington lawyer and orator, Sigmund later joined a firm in Chicago. Raised in Elgin, Hilda moved to Bloomington with Sigmund, and raised one son, Richard.

  • Read Full Biography

  • Read Student Biography

  • Mary Ann Marmon (1837-1908)
  • Mary Ann Marmon (1837-1908)
  • Mary Ann Marmon grew up in a log cabin and was among the earliest settlers in the area. A member of the McLean County Historical Society, she wrote about prairie fires, Delaware and Kickapoo settlements, needlecrafts, and social life. She married and outlived William Marmon, a successful druggist. They hosted a “pioneer dinner party” in 1881 that recaptured the past. She was also the sister of Owen Lee Cheney, featured in last year’s Cemetery Walk.

  • Read Full Biography

  • Read Student Biography

  • William Rodenhauser (1842-1919)
  • William Rodenhauser (1842-1919)
  • William Rodenhauser worked for the Chicago & Alton Railroad as a carpenter, losing the fingers on his right hand in a work accident. Born in Germany, he came to the United States in 1882, his family joining him later. They spoke German in their home. As part of the Homestead Act, he purchased land in Colorado, hoping to farm there, but had returned to Bloomington to live with his daughter when he died.

  • Read Full Biography

  • Read 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.