Tours will be led by Lee University senior history majors who will introduce the community to several fascinating Clevelanders and Bradley Countians from the 19th century buried in the historic section of Fort Hill. Lee history professor John Coats says “By bringing to life figures from our city’s past, the annual cemetery tour has been incredibly effective in generating interest in the history of Cleveland.”
This year’s historical characters include James and Nancy Robertson, John and Mary Jane Ramsey, James and Mame Lea Kirby, Amanuel and Elizabeth Rogers, Joseph and Mary Million, Samuel and Alice Kibler, Caroline Grant, Thomas L. Cate and Capt. Jonathan Calvin Dickerson.
Students have been researching these individuals this semester as they complete their senior “capstone experience” which includes a public history project. Students and local performers dressed in period costume will bring these early residents to life and transport participants back over a century for a few brief moments.
Lee professor and tour organizer Randy Wood said “Our students thoroughly enjoy working in the archives at the library’s history branch and then presenting the historical figures to the public. The tour helps them realize the importance of studying and presenting history as public service.”
Lee senior history major and tour performer Zachary Arms added, “I feel like it has given me an opportunity to not just do both of my loves of history and acting, but also allows me to serve the community by teaching …”
This year’s tour will begin in the late afternoon at 4 and continue to dusk, so the tour event is billed as a “lantern” tour. The last tour will begin shortly after 6 p.m..
The cost is $5 per person. Proceeds (beyond the cost of producing the event) are donated to the Bill Snell Scholarship Fund at Lee University. Parking is available at the Boys & Girls Club and a van will shuttle guests to and from the tour site.