His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety of­fers glimpse into past with grave­yard tour

In week be­fore event, ticket sales re­main stag­nant

Cecil Whig - - ACCENT - By JOE ANTOSHAK

jan­toshak@ches­pub.com

— Enough with the text­books and lec­tures. The Ce­cil County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety has plans to make his­tory fun again.

This Fri­day, it’ll part­ner with ac­tors from the Ce­cil County Her­itage Troupe to put on its first his­toric ceme­tery tour com­plete with re-en­ac­tors — in­dica­tive of a goal to in­crease the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety’s foot­print in the county.

The only prob­lem? They

ELKTON

have yet to sell any tick­ets.

“Peo­ple seem to think of the so­ci­ety as old and dusty, but we’re ac­tu­ally quite a lot of fun,” said Paula New­ton, pres­i­dent of the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety. “We’re try­ing to project that im­age.”

Re­cently, the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety has made strides to in­te­grate with Elkton’s down­town cul­ture. They’ve opened their doors to passersby dur­ing First Fri­days and joined the Art Loop. So when Wanda Owens, a mem­ber of the Her­itage Troupe, came to New­ton with the idea for the tour, New­ton took her up on it.

Be­cause some in­di­vid­u­als in the town’s art and cul­ture com­mu­nity con­sider the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety un­der­used, New­ton has tried to col­lab­o­rate more of­ten with the Elkton Cham­ber & Al­liance.

“We’re a great re­source, and peo­ple don’t come to us,” New­ton said.

Part of that may be be­cause the so­ci­ety is made up of vol­un­teers who have to split their time with oc­cu­pa­tions. That could cut into the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s abil­ity to ad­ver­tise ag­gres­sively, ac­cord­ing to Margie Bly­stone, chair­man for Elkton’s arts and en­ter­tain­ment dis­trict.

New­ton said the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety has a mem­ber base of some 600 peo­ple, and that they send out events through that chan­nel when­ever they pop up. As of Tues­day af­ter­noon, how­ever, the event had not been posted on the soci- ety’s on­line cal­en­dar.

Tick­ets for the ceme­tery tour cost $8 in ad­vance and $10 at the door. The first group will set off at 6 p.m. from the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety in Elkton, where guests will be greeted by an ac­tor play­ing the part of for­mer Elkton Mayor Henry H. Mitchell, who served from 1935 to 1955. Each tour will then head to the Elkton Ceme­tery on Howard Street and last roughly an hour.

Bly­stone said she didn’t think the ticket prices were the is­sue with sales.

“Peo­ple like to wait to the last minute to do things,” she said. “Also, just get­ting the word out. Not ev­ery­one is on Face­book.”

Other than Mitchell, ac­tors will por­tray no­table county res­i­dents buried in the ceme­tery like Sarah Hollingsworth, wife of Col. Henry Hollingsworth, who fought in the Revo­lu­tion­ary War; Col. Isaac Davis, who fought in the Civil War; Martha Fin­ley, famed chil­dren’s book au­thor; and Mary El­iz­a­beth Reese Pear­son, daugh­ter of the man who cre­ated the Reese’s peanut but­ter cup.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, Bly­stone is pulling for the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety’s suc­cess.

“I wish the pub­lic could see how ex­cited these peo­ple are to do this,” she said. “I don’t want them to think that it’s go­ing to be dry, just quot­ing from a book or some­thing. It’s go­ing to be peo­ple re­ally play­ing the parts.”

The ceme­tery tour may be one that de­vel­ops into a re­cur­ring event, though that de­pends largely on the kind of re­cep­tion it draws this week­end. New­ton said the so­ci­ety had other ideas for a sim­i­lar tour of Main Street and of the nearby Pres­by­te­rian ceme­tery.

“There are loads of op­por­tu­ni­ties here,” she said.

The His­toric Ceme­tery Tour will be­gin Fri­day at the Ce­cil County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, 135 E. Main St., Elkton. Tours are sched­uled for 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. A rain date is set for Satur­day, Oct. 8. Call 410398-5076 to pur­chase $8 tick­ets in ad­vance; tick­ets will also be avail­able at the door for $10.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOE ANTOSHAK

Shortly be­fore sunset Mon­day, light shines through the Elkton Ceme­tery. On Fri­day, the Ce­cil County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and Her­itage Troupe will host the first his­toric ceme­tery tour here, but so far, they’ve had trou­ble sell­ing tick­ets.

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