Once again, the Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery Foundation(FOGCF), are preparing to present a spectacular show at the Greenlawn Cemetery on October 12th and 13th. Plan now to not miss out on something that so many people in this area talk about for months after, as this wonderful group of volunteers portrays events from the past to life.
Vintage Edison lights will gleam across the century-old brick walkways in Greenlawn Cemetery as characters from the 1870-1920s come to life in THE STORY OF US III, “The Brave Ones.” The two-day event, sponsored by the Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery Foundation(FOGCF), is in its’ third historical reenactment installment in the series.
Directed by Linda Tieman, eleven venues will be transformed into period-specific settings for the guide-led walking tour complete with characters, costumes and props. All new stories and character profiles will transport you back to the period and you will relive defining historical moments in the development of Portsmouth.
Surrounded by the beauty and history of Greenlawn’s winding roads and horticulture, visitors will learn the forty-acre cemetery is the final resting place for some 85,000 individuals, all with stories to tell. Monuments dated from 1829 are readily visible during the tour.
The William Moore Mausoleum, located in the Evergreen section near the corner of Offnere and Grant Streets, will be just one of the stops this year’s tour. Captain Moore will greet visitors and reminisce about his steamboat “The Star of the West” that suffered the first shot of the Civil War as it was attempting to deliver supplies to the Union Army at Fort Sumter.
Visitors will find themselves transfixed by the accuracy of the costumes and the stories of these brave individuals who formed the history of Portsmouth during the industrial revolution. The experience is further enriched by seventy-five costumed actors, cast and crew members who are present from the moment you enter the Greenlawn Cemetery gates, you will become part of the production.
“The Brave Ones” will also feature stories about several local churches including First Presbyterian and Bigelow. You will discover the important roles churches played in providing much needed social services to a growing community. You will watch as the Ladies Aid Societies forge much-needed changes in the community.
“Each year we strive to be different than the previous year and the 2019 production “The Brave Ones,” is a more immersive experience for the attendee,” according to FOGCF President Debbie Gambill. “You will be physically invited into the venues, becoming part of the individual performances. This happens immediately upon entry into the cemetery. There are eleven stops this year including the large opening and closing performances.”
Louisana Moore Ricker will be portrayed by Sandy Sturgill Dutiell, a direct descendant of Mrs. Ricker. Her actual journals, available at the Portsmouth Public Library, were used to provide accuracy to the timelines of many stories.
Another venue will be the story of the Sisters of St. Francis and the development of Mercy Hospital established to meet the need for more hospital beds in a time when disease and injuries were paramount.
The battle between the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement and local liquor establishments was intense. Local Christian women forced saloon owners to sign pledges they would not sell alcohol and the battle was perceived as good vs. evil, but the story is larger. The story of how families are pitted against their friends and neighbors will be told in “The Brave Ones.”
The two- hour event will include refreshments and the opportunity to learn a little more about the history of Portsmouth. All proceeds from the annual event go to the restoration and preservation of Greenlawn Cemetery. Previous projects include the complete restoration of Greenlawn Cemetery Chapel, established in 1884, and presently on the National List of Historic Places; restoring and painting the fence, benches, horticulture, and online records.
“This is the only fundraiser we do each year,” FOGCF Treasurer, Melissa Appleton pointed out, “we want the experience to be memorable for everyone.”
Don’t miss out, the tickets go fast and sell out every year. Tickets for the October 12 and October 13th, 2019 events are available at Berndt and Merfin Insurance located at 1031 Gallia Street or Neal Hatcher Real Estate Office located at 902 8th Street in Portsmouth.
This year’s show sounds like it will be even better than those from the past two years if you are wanting to bring the family together, make it a time for all to spend together.
**Assistance from Debbie Gambill, FOGCF**
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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