The Historical Society of Greater Lansing is hosting its annual cemetery tour Sunday August 19 at 2 p.m. at Evergreen Cemetery on East Mt. Hope Ave. The event is free to the public. The Cemetery is East of Fenner and the Mt. Hope Cemetery on the South side of the street. Park inside the gate.
The tour which lasts about one hour will focus on a dozen families from the first half of the twentieth century with special attention on individuals who came to Lansing from elsewhere and became part of an era of entrepreneurship in the city.
“The early part of the twentieth century saw tremendous growth in Lansing as families moved here from rural areas, out of state and other countries and stayed to start businesses ranging from a floral shop to a sporting goods store and from an automobile dealership to an aerial surveying company” said Valerie Marvin, president of the Lansing Historical Society.
“We will visit the graves of these entrepreneurs and tell their story thereby telling the story of Lansing.
In the first half of the twentieth century Lansing was seen as a destination and desirable location to pursue the American Dream. These individuals started businesses and prospered and as they grew they gave back to Lansing through their churches, fraternal groups and charities.”
She said tour participants will likely recognize names that have become part of Lansing’s history such as Van Peenen, McClintock, Vandervoort, Abrams, Popoff, C.W. Otto and Leadley.
In addition to Lansing business founders, several gravesites will highlight the growth of MSU, then MSC, and its attraction to professors such as John P. Hutton who was a leader in the emergent Veterinary School. There will also be a visit to the grave of Theodore Rich who was noted for his research on bovine flu.
Marvin said cemeteries are important to historians and genealogists for the stories they tell about a community such as when various immigrant groups moved to the area and gravestones began showing two languages.
Marvin will also talk about the history of the Evergreen Cemetery and its layout since Evergreen Cemetery was organized differently than earlier cemeteries with much more governmental oversight.
Participants are encouraged to wear walking shoes and to bring a portable lawn chair if they will need someplace to sit during the one hour tour. The tour group will meet just inside the entrance at the large military memorial.
If you have any questions about the walk e-mail the Historical Society of Greater Lansing at email@example.com or call HSGL President Valerie Marvin at 517-282-0671.