Watertown’s Mellette Memorial Association Is Raising the Dead …. Again
the second time in as many years, the Mellette Memorial Association is
hosting a fundraiser at Watertown’s Mt. Hope Cemetery, giving
folks a rare opportunity to meet some of Watertown’s earliest
residents. The second installment of the “If Headstones
Could Talk” event is scheduled for Saturday, June 6,
2009. The walking tour will visit the graves of six early
citizens who will tell you about their lives and their experiences in
This year you’ll have the opportunity to meet business leader
William Stokes, merchant Alexander Gilruth, farmer, stock man and
business man Oscar Kemp, newspaper man Leander Delos Lyon, a woman
homesteader, and our own Margaret Wylie Mellette. These
individuals will be re-enacted by local people with a flair for drama
and history. The characters are different from last year but
still have the same incredible stories to tell.
Tickets for the event are $10 per person, and $5 for children under 12
years of age. Tickets may be purchased the day of the event or in
advance by visiting Mellette House after it opens for the season on May
1. The House is located at 421 5th Avenue NW in
Watertown. If desired, tickets may be purchased by mail.
Requests, accompanied by payment, should be addressed to PO Box 212,
Watertown, SD 57201. Tickets may also be obtained at the
uptown Watertown Chamber of Commerce Office located at 20 South Maple
Street and at Past Times Coffee House and Deli, 19 West Kemp
Avenue. Tickets are non-refundable and the event will be held
rain or shine.
“We had so much fun last year when we inaugurated this event and
got such positive feedback, we absolutely had to try it again,”
said Prudy Calvin, president of the Mellette board of directors.
“We would love to make it an annual event.” Selecting
the grave sites to visit again presented a dilemma. “There
is so much history at the cemetery that it was difficult to select the
individuals to spotlight. We believe each of the individuals we
have chosen, however, bring their own special breed of pioneer spirit
that will make the tour interesting and informative.”
Calvin also wants to remind people that the event is a walking tour and
people should be prepared to stand for at least an hour, perhaps a bit
longer. Comfortable shoes are a necessity.
“Once again” she notes, “visitors will be led on a
guided tour of the cemetery, stopping at selected grave sites where
they’ll be treated to a presentation by the
re-enactor. The tour will take approximately a little over
one hour to complete, so be prepared to walk and/or stand for that
period of time.” Tours will begin at 1:00 p.m. on June 6,
2009 and continue through the afternoon, with the last tour departing
at 3:30 p.m. Tours will depart approximately every 20 minutes
from the centrally located mausoleum at Mt. Hope Cemetery.
Parking will be available at Cornerstone United Methodist Church
parking lot directly east of the cemetery as well as on some roads
in the cemetery itself.
Once again the Redlin Art Center has agreed to partner with the
Mellette Memorial Association on the event. Ticket holders
can present their ticket at the event and receive a coupon which can be
redeemed at the Redlin Gift Center for a free print. As last
year, the Gift Shop has agreed to upgrade the print to a beautifully
framed one for an additional $20. This year’s print
is an Exclusive Edition of the “Spring Fever” painting
which brings back memories of youthful joy , gusty spring days and
flying kites from St. Anne’s Hill in Watertown.
Calvin added “The Redlin Art Center has very generously supplied
this value added component to our fundraiser again. We are very
grateful for their participation and for their ongoing support of
What: If Headstones Could Talk
Where: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Watertown, SD
When: Saturday, June 6, 2009 from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Tickets: $10/adults - $5 under 12
For more information: 886-4730 (Mellette House)