The Historical Society of Long Beach will present its annual historical tour of the two oldest cemeteries in the city on Saturday, Oct. 30, with presentations from 9am to 2:30pm, at Long Beach Municipal and Sunnyside cemeteries, 1095 Willow St. To commemorate the event’s 15th anniversary, this year’s theme is “Monumental”– in recognition of the life accomplishments and interesting markers that are the final statement of those whose stories will be told.
The cemetery tour is a unique, engaging and educational daytime family event where visitors are “taken back in time” by the city’s past residents, portrayed by authentically costumed actors.
From the Heartwell Mausoleum high on the hill in Municipal, to Sunnyside’s Abel monument, which proudly proclaims “Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota,” visitors will learn about those whose lives are now etched in stone– and in some cases, in the streets, parks and neighborhoods that bear their names, like Heartwell, Stearns, Wardlow, and Bixby.
Amidst the 20,000 tombstones and markers, tour participants stop in at 10 selected graves to hear first-hand narratives of those at rest. Many tell tales of the crimes, tragedies and scandals that followed them all the way to the grave. Each person’s life story provides glimpses of the customs, attitudes and culture of bygone eras. The stories make up the mosaic that is the city’s history.
Tickets can only be purchased on the day of the event at Sunnyside Cemetery from 8:30am until noon. Visitors will be free to map their own itinerary of grave presentations with a self-guided tour– performance times are given in the tour program and on signage at each grave stop. Or, if they wish, visitors may take a guided tour– the first departs at 9am, with additional tours leaving on the hour until noon. Admission costs are: $18 general admission; $12 for Historical Society members; $5 for students 12 to 18; and free for children 11 and under.