Touring The Tombs

If you’re a fan of reading local history books, there will be three walking tours this summer at Lake View Cemetery that might be of interest to you.

On Tuesday, June 24, the Lake View Cemetery free summer walking tours will start with Clarence C. Carlson leading a tour based on his book “The Jamestown Furniture Industry: History in Wood 1816-1920.” Then on Tuesday, July 22, Kathleen Crocker and Jane Currie will be at Lake View for a tour based on their latest book “Legendary Locals.” In August, Rolland Kidder will lead a tour highlighting people he interviewed for his book, “A Hometown Went To War.”

Samuel Genco Jr., Lake View Cemetery superintendent and secretary, said while reading some of the local history books, he realized the people being mentioned by the authors were buried at the cemetery.

“We asked the authors if they would like to conduct a tour based on those people and they were more than happy to do it,” Genco said.

This will be the second year for the free summer walking tours at the cemetery. Genco said cemetery officials have done a fair amount of research on some of the people buried at Lake View and thought it would pique people’s interest to do tours based on the information they discovered.

“I think it is interesting to a lot of different people and groups because they can learn so much,” Genco said about the walking tours. “We have a lot to be proud of when it comes to our local history.”

Genco said for seven to eight years they have been working with the Fenton History Center to do tours during the fall. He said they started out as walking tours, but now people can also go on horse-drawn carriage rides through Lake View.

“We give people a choice now to walk or take a carriage ride,” Genco said. “We had heard from people … that they couldn’t walk around the cemetery. Lake View does have some hills so it is difficult for some to get around. So we hooked up with people with the carriages. We’ve done the horse carriage tours the last two to three years. We’ve done well, they always sell out. The summer tours are free, but the fall ones with the Fenton people have to pay for. There is a cost for the buggy, and we have actors and actresses, it is a bit more involved. Also, it is a fundraiser for the Fenton.”

Genco said the walking tours usually attract between 20 to 40 people. Last year, they did a walking tour on women of note and a sports-related one, as well. Genco said in the future they may do one about the interesting monuments in the cemetery.

“We may also do a tour based on research we are doing on the most common name in the cemetery. We have 104 John Johnsons,” he said. “We’re looking into their obits so we can do a tour on all the John Johnsons. There is any number of possibilities for future tours.”

Genco said for the summer tours, Lake View officials will try to make accommodations for those with disabilities. People can contact the cemetery by calling 665-3206.

“We are always interested in helping people lean a little more about the area and to show off the cemetery a little bit,” Genco said. “It is a great resource for people to come and visit.”