Home/Events /2020 Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk
2020 Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk
Date & Time
10/3/20 - 11/2/20
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Following a milestone 25th anniversary, the McLean County Museum of History, Illinois Voices Theatre, and Evergreen Memorial Cemetery are excited to announce that the 26th annual Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be reimagined for online enjoyment this coming Fall 2020.

In the interest of the safety of our patrons, partners, volunteers, and organizers, and in consideration of the current and ever-changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be debuted on a digital platform. This digital debut will guarantee continued support of the event’s original mission—to educate more than 2,000 local students on the historic significance of cemeteries—and allow us to offer the treasured Cemetery Walk experience to even greater audiences by eliminating such barriers as geography, mobility, and capacity.

The coming months will be spent planning and preparing a high quality video experience with the assistance of Broadleaf Video Management for our all participants, and exploring additional ways to showcase the rich research, attentive artistry, and simple passion for local history that goes into this event each and every year.

We did not make this decision lightly. We could not do this without the talent and support of our local theater scene, nor without the blessing and beautiful backdrop of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. But never fear, as we make the final plans and preparations for the digital 2020 Evergreen Cemetery Walk experience, plans are already under way for the 2021 Evergreen Cemetery Walk with the hope that we will once again hold it on the glorious grounds of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.

This year’s feature characters are:

Almira Sarah Ives Burnham (1840-1932) shared a studio with fellow artist Emily Howard (1834-1914). Born in Burma to missionary parents, Howard and her family were shipwrecked upon their return to America. Similarly stricken by disaster, Burnham suffered a house fire the week after several of her paintings were destroyed in a train fire coming back from the Illinois State Fair. With humor, stubbornness, and quiet defiance, these friends refused to let misfortune define their lives—preferring dedication to their art.

Grace Huddleston Stewart (1910-1996) filed a housing complaint during the Civil Rights movement that helped achieve a strong fair housing ordinance in Bloomington in 1967. As someone who had always lived in mixed-race areas growing up, she was surprised to see all-black neighborhoods on visits to St. Louis and Chicago. Stewart opened her home and “kept” ISU and IWU students while working as a pastry cook at Illinois Wesleyan University until her retirement in 1972.

Florence Mae Risser Funk (1871-1923) was a suffragist and society woman who campaigned for Charles Evans Hughes for U.S. president—a progressive candidate who supported universal suffrage for women. As a member of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association, Funk was in Springfield in June 1919 when Illinois became the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. She celebrated its passage at a convention in Chicago in 1920.

Owen Lee Cheney (1846-1911) was an inventor, hot air balloonist, sports promoter, saloon keeper, and dandy known for several inventions and more than a few scandals around town. As a teenager, Cheney fought in the Civil War. When he was older, he was eager to find creative ways of making money, even if it meant selling liquor after hours, stealing a racehorse, or risking family finances. Feisty and competitive, Lee Cheney had plenty of fight in him before he died in a chair of heart failure at 64.

William McCoslin (ca.1828-1878) was an African American barber who cut white men’s hair in Bloomington, a convention of his times. An intelligent, civic-minded, and charismatic man, McCoslin had his letters home from the Civil War published in the Pantagraph. Following the war, he helped arrange a reception for guest speaker Frederick Douglass in 1866. McCoslin’s early death was probably due to exposure to illness during his service. He is thought to be buried in the older section of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.

Edwin Charles Hewett (1828-1905) taught at Illinois State Normal University and served as president from 1876 to 1890. As president, he assembled a teaching exhibit for the Philadelphia Exposition—the World’s Fair in 1876—and hired Ange Milner as ISNU’s first fulltime librarian. He debated famed feminist and suffragist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) on the topic of women’s right to vote when she visited Bloomington in 1870. He was decidedly against women participating in the “unfeminine act” of voting. Anthony is visiting Evergreen Memorial Cemetery this year, where Hewett is buried.

Performances for the 26th annual Walk will be viewable starting October 3 through November 2. Tickets to view the Walk will go on sale on September 8 and can be purchased via the Museum’s website www.mchistory.org. Household ticket prices will be $25 for public and $20 members.

We are thrilled to be able to offer this new and exciting way to experience the Museum’s longest running and most successful educational program. We hope that you will be able to join us from the comfort of your own home or wherever you choose to view the debut digital presentation of the 2020 Evergreen Cemetery Walk.

The 2020 Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be viewable starting October 3 through November 2. Tickets are $25 per household for the General Public and $20 per household for Museum members. The video production of the Virtual Walk will be viewable through the online platform, Teachable, allowing the Museum to present this year’s production in a way that is accessible to both the general public and the many student groups who annually participate. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.McHistory.org. Ticket holders will have the option to view the Walk in its entirety as a full-length video or watch each performance individually. In addition to each performance, Teachable will allow us to add additional content and videos to enhance the Cemetery Walk experience like never before. Examples of additional content includes a guided tour of the tree carvings throughout Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, and supplemental information and images about events and activities that this year’s feature characters participated in. This virtual experience will allow us to share even more information about the history of our community, of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, and this year’s characters.

To see who this year's feature characters are, visit https://mchistory.org/learn/evergreen-cemetery-walk.

For more information or questions, please contact the Museum’s Education Department at education@mchistory.org. We hope that you will join us from wherever you are for our reimagined event- the debut Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk.
Evergreen Memorial Cemetery
302 E Miller St
Bloomington, IL

(309) 827-6950