A group of students tours the cemetery walk

The Evergreen Cemetery Walk is a great educational program for students to participate in. Your students will develop an understanding and appreciation for cemeteries as a source for history. They will begin to understand our local history and its importance, and understand the natural connection between history and the arts.

In addition, the Cemetery Walk will help teachers meet a variety of History and English related ISBE Learning Goals and Common Core Standards.

To register Public/Private School Groups to attend the 2024 School Tours of the Evergreen Cemetery Walk, please click here.

To Register Home School Groups to attend the 2024 School Tours of the Evergreen Cemetery Walk, please click here.

The 2024 Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be viewable starting November 4, 2024.

Download the Viewing Instructions for the Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk 2024 here.

How to Prepare For Your Tour

Below are links to PDFs on a variety of information that will be useful in preparing to bring your students to your scheduled tour of the Evergreen Cemetery Walk.

  • Teacher Information 2024

  • Chaperone Information 2024

  • Student Information 2024

Character Packets

These packets include information on each character featured in this year's Evergreen Cemetery Walk. One character, J.J. Mayes, will only be seen by students using the virtual walk as he is a weekend-only performance. Each character's packet has a student biography, a vocabulary list, and a collection of relevant Pieces from our Past articles written by Museum staff and community collaborators.

  • Gus & Edit Belt Character Packet

  • Ange Milner Character Packet

  • Georgina Trotter and Sarah Raymond Fitzwilliam Character Packet

  • June Crandall Character Packet

  • Julius Witherspoon Character Packet

  • Eva Jones Character Packet

Cemetery History, Symbolism, and Monument Information

This document includes a brief history on the evolution of cemeteries and a history of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. Also included is information on monument materials, cemetery art and symbolism, monument types, and cemetery structures, of which many can be found in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. This information will be very useful in helping to prepare students for participation in the Evergreen Cemetery Walk.

Standards and Educational Goals

The Evergreen Cemetery Walk is a great educational program for students to participate in. It is our intention that students will develop an understanding and appreciation for cemeteries as a source for history, that students will begin to understand our local history and its importance, and that students will understand the natural connection between history and the arts. In addition, the Cemetery Walk will help teachers meet a variety of History and English related ISBE Learning Goals and Common Core Standards.

Maps

To see a map of burial locations for this year's characters, please click here.

To see the route map for this year's walk, please click here.

Suggested General Activities

Aside from general discussion, these are activities which teachers who have attended Walks in years past have done with their students that may prove beneficial for you and your students as well.

2024 Featured Characters

We have featured 205 people in the Cemetery Walk since 1995. To read biographies of individuals featured on past Cemetery Walks, visit our biographies page.

Belt, Augustus "Gus"
Augustus “Gus” Belt (1895-1954) and Edith Pressler Belt (1896 – 1973) After several failed business ventures in Bloomington, Gus and Edith Belt acquired a Shell Oil station at the corner of Main and Virginia Streets in Normal which they turned into a successful drive-in that served hamburgers and milkshakes. And thus, was born Steak n’ Shake in 1934. What started as a single restaurant grew into a nationwide chain, which Edith continued as chairperson after Gus’ death in 1954. The Belt’s are visiting voices from East Lawn Memorial Cemetery celebrating the 90th anniversary of Steak n’ Shake. Visiting Voice
Belt, Edith Pressler
Edith Pressler Belt (1896 – 1973) and Augustus “Gus” Belt (1895-1954) After several failed business ventures in Bloomington, Gus and Edith Belt acquired a Shell Oil station at the corner of Main and Virginia Streets in Normal which they turned into a successful drive-in that served hamburgers and milkshakes. And thus, was born Steak n’ Shake in 1934. What started as a single restaurant grew into a nationwide chain, which Edith continued as chairperson after Gus’ death in 1954. The Belt’s are visiting voices from East Lawn Memorial Cemetery celebrating the 90th anniversary of Steak n’ Shake. Visiting Voice
Milner, Angeline Vernon
Angeline Vernon Milner (1856-1928) or Ange (as she was known to most), is one of Illinois’ most famous librarians. Milner became Illinois State (Normal) University’s first full time librarian in 1890, serving nearly 40 years. Her passion for library science drew national attention and shaped the curriculum of the university. Milner was a founding member of the Illinois branch of the American Library Association and instituted the idea of teaching college students how to use library resources in their studies, a practice she outlined for other teachers’ colleges to follow. Fan Favorite
Angie Milner
Trotter, Georgina
Georgina Trotter (1836-1904) was a Bloomington businesswoman who was the first woman elected to the Bloomington Board of Education in 1874. She served alongside her close friend Sarah Raymond Fitzwilliam (1842 – 1918) who became the first female superintendent of Bloomington Public Schools that same year. These women had an uphill battle to prove they were worthy of these positions. Together, they worked side-by-by side to improve the quality of education students received in Bloomington Public Schools and to improve the lives of others in the community.
Fitzwilliam, Sarah Raymond
Sarah Raymond Fitzwilliam (1842 – 1918) was appointed the first female superintendent of Bloomington Public Schools in 1874. She served along side her close friend, Bloomington businesswoman Georgina Trotter (1836-1904) , who was the first woman elected to the Bloomington Board of Education that same year. These women had an uphill battle to prove they were worthy of these positions. Together, they worked side-by-by side to improve the quality of education students received in Bloomington Public Schools and to improve the lives of others in the community.
Sarah Raymond Fitzwilliam
Crandall, June W.
June Crandall (1878-1910) a Kentucky native, came to Bloomington in 1898 and began working as a miner at the McLean County Coal Company on the west side of town. He was one of the early labor union and Socialist party leaders in Bloomington, being deeply concerned about the exploitation of the American working class. Crandall fought hard on various platforms, including politics, to improve the quality of life for his fellow workers and their families.
Witherspoon, Julius
Julius Witherspoon (1859-1906) relocated to Bloomington from Arkansas at the age of 24. He worked for the Bloomington Police for eight years before enlisting in the military in 1898. Witherspoon was made captain of his regiment, Company G of the Eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, which was the only regiment of Black troops officered entirely by Black men. His unit was stationed in Cuba for garrison duty for the duration of the Spanish-American War. After returning to Bloomington, Witherspoon worked as a liveryman. But poor health (due to the war) cut his life short, and he passed away in 1906. Fan Favorite
Julius Witherspoon
Jones, Eva
Eva Jones (1930-1987) was a woman who never turned away from challenging situations or tough decisions. She was the first Black individual to be elected to the Bloomington District 87 Board of Education (1971) and Bloomington City Council (1979). She brought a new voice to the mix during a period of increased racial tensions and provided much-needed representation for the Black community. Jones’ influence permeated throughout the community because of her work with the local YWCA, League of Women Voters, and the United Way.
Eva Jones