Mellette House, Watertown, South Dakota
  Watertown’s Mellette Memorial Association Is Raising the Dead …. Again
Headstone of Arthur Mellette

For 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 early Watertown. 

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 Mellette House.”

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)

605-886-4730                                                                                                                      Copyright 2006, Mellette Memorial Association.. All Rights Reserved.
 421 5th Ave NW, Watertown, South Dakota, USA