Immerse yourself in Elgin's past during 36th Bluff City Cemetery Walk
Notable residents from Elgin's past will have their stories brought to life this weekend during the 36th Bluff City Cemetery Walk.
The Elgin History Museum-sponsored event features 70-minute tours starting at 3 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Local theater actors donning period costumes will be at seven gravesites. They will talk about the impact the departed residents had on Elgin.
"It's shaping up to be the best one in the last five years that Lillian (Galfi) and I have had the privilege of co-chairing," said organizer Rudy Galfi.
"All the character scripts have been meticulously crafted for each actor."
The list of highlighted Elginites includes:
• William D. Ackemann, who, with his brothers, founded Ackemann Bros. Department Store.
• Joseph Hecker, a musician who organized the Elgin National Watch Factory Band and established the Elgin College of Music.
• Abraham Leatherman, who established Leatherman's Tavern along Route 20. It served as a way station for travelers and as a social center.
• Ruth Andersen, a lifelong teacher who taught at Wing School for 20 years.
Three women will tell the stories of prominent Elgin families.
For example, an actress portraying Mary Geister will speak about the Geister family. The family patriarch was the superintendent of a windmill manufacturing firm and then owned a lumber company.
Carol Townsend will portray Emma Chisholm, whose family had mining interests in the West and was one of the wealthiest families in town.
Tickets for the event are being sold for individual time slots each day and cost $20. They're available at elginhistory.org/2023-cemetery-walk/. Tickets will not be available at the event.
Galfi said this year's route covers less than half a mile and also features a tram that seats about 15 for people with mobility issues. Seats on the tram can reserved by calling the museum at (847) 742-4248.
Bluff City Cemetery, the final resting place for Elgin-area residents since 1889, is at 945 Bluff City Blvd. The walk is a rain or shine event.