Park City Museum will lead Glenwood Cemetery Tour over Miner’s Day weekend
Event returns five years after tragedy
A historic tour will return to the Glenwood Cemetery after five years.
Instead of focusing on the macabre and taking place over Halloween weekend, the new tour dubbed “Miners and Their Families” will be held Sunday, Sept. 3, over Miner’s Day weekend, said Park City Museum Education Director Diane Knispel.
“We’re doing it this way because we think it’s about locals’ history and we wanted it to be about locals,” Knispel said during an interview with The Park Record. “We want to allow people to see the cemetery and hear the stories of those who lived and died in Park City during the mining era.”
There will be two sessions, one at 10:45 a.m. and the other at 12:15 p.m. The tours will cost $10 per person and are appropriate for ages 10 years and older. No pets will be allowed on the tours.
Tickets can be purchased in advance by visiting http://www.parkcityhistory.org. Money from ticket purchases will go back into maintaining the cemetery.
“We’re not giving tickets out the day of the tours,” Knipsel said. “It will all be taken care of in advance.”
The museum will send out an email to those who purchased tickets a day before the tour with parking information.
“We can accommodate 84 people per tour,” Knispel said. “We will then separate the people into 12 groups.”
The groups, which will be led by Park City Museum docents, will walk to different graves, to hear the history of the people who are buried under the headstones.
“We have seven graves that they will rotate to,” Knispel said.
The information will be give by other volunteers who are dressed as their subjects.
This year’s tour will focus on past Park City residents Nels Blomgren, John Witta, John Nimmo, Ellen Mawhinney, Rebecca Simmons, Alex Smith and Harriet Truscott.
There are approximately 900 graves in the cemetery, which is located off Silver King Drive in Thaynes Canyon.
“We have a list of everyone who is buried in the cemetery, and we narrowed the list down to these people were either miners or members of their families,” Knispel said.
Volunteers received scripts of their characters two weeks ago.
“Some of the volunteers memorize the script, while some have taken bits and pieces from the script and made their own presentation,” Knipsel said. “Each will talk about their characters for about five to 10 minutes.”
The research for the scripts was done at the Park City Museum.
“We had members of the Glendwood Cemetery committee create the scripts,” Knipsel said.
The committee is comprised of volunteers who maintain the graves, give tours and place flags during Memorial Day and Veterans Day.”
The Park City Museum stopped the historic Glenwood Cemetery Tours in 2012, after the death of 4-year-old Carson Dean Cheney.
The boy and his family were in Park City attending a family reunion when a 250-pound headstone toppled on top of him. The boy died after being transferred to a hospital.
To assure no other such accidents occur, Knipsel said the Park City Museum is “carefully” bringing the tours back.
“We will do this in a very controlled environment,” she said. “We have added an age limit to 10 years and older, and we want to make sure everyone stays with the groups. So we will have docents leading them to the graves, so people don’t go off the paths.”
The volunteers narrating the stories,will be dressed in costumes.
“We have a board member who has a costume collection, and that is fabulous, because we don’t have to worry about coming up with the costumes ourselves,” Knipsel said.
Knispel, who moved to Park City in early 2017 to become the Park City Museum’s education director, said she is fascinated with the Glenwood Cemetery, which dates back to 1885.
The cemetery was created so those miners who were members of local fraternal organizations such as the Knights of Pythias, Woodmen of the World, Odd Fellows and Masons and their families — who couldn’t afford to buried in the Park City Cemetery — could be laid to rest.
“It has a wonderful history for this town,” Knipsel said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t forget the miners. We think it’s the right time to bring the tour back, and we’re very excited about it.”
The Park City Museum will host two historic “Miners and Their Families” tours at 10:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3, at the Glenwood Cemetery, 401 Silver King Drive. For tickets, visit http://www.parkcityhistory.org/event/historic-glenwood-cemetery-tour-september-3-2017. For information, call 435-649-7457 ext. 5102.
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