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Elaine Brenchley, First State Heritage Park, 302-739-9194, or Necia Beck, Delaware State Parks, 302-739-9175,

First State Heritage Park Offers Three Candlelit Cemetery Tours

DOVER (May 4, 2012) The First State Heritage Park’s candlelit tours of Dover’s three historic churchyards return this month. Tours will take place on the following Friday evenings – May 11, May 18 and May 25. The churchyard tours are made possible through the support and collaboration of the Presbyterian Church of Dover, Christ Episcopal Church and Wesley United Methodist Church.

Both children and adults will enjoy experiencing history by candlelight. Admission to all lantern tours is $5 and all tours begin at 8 p.m. Tour space is limited; lanterns may be reserved by calling 302-739-9194.  


Christ Church Cemetery
Friday, May 11, 8 p.m.
Christ Episcopal Church – at the corner of S. State and Water Streets
Visitors will encounter characters from the past with tales of the tombstones, joy and sorrow about those who are laid to rest within the walls of the churchyard. From Caesar Rodney’s unrequited love to Civil War opponents buried within yards of one another, guests should be prepared for a surprise or two on this unique tour. 

Old Methodist Cemetery
Friday, May 18, 8 p.m.
Johnson Victrola Museum Parking Lot – 375 S. New Street
The stories of those buried in this historic cemetery will help reveal the elaborate rituals associated with death and mourning in the 19th-century as visitors are guided among the ornately decorated tombstones of the Wesley United Methodist Church’s old historic cemetery.

The meanings of the carefully chosen and crafted funeral art that decorates the tombs and what those symbols might reveal about the people buried beneath them will be discussed. Guests will also learn about varied and unusual funerary customs of the Victorian Period, including mourning clothes and customs and how the Civil War spurred development of methods for preserving the dead.  

Presbyterian Churchyard Cemetery
Friday, May 25, 8 p.m.
Johnson Victrola Museum Parking Lot – 375 S. New Street
Many prominent Delawareans and their families are buried in the Presbyterian Church of Dover’s historic cemetery.  Among them is Delaware’s great statesman John M. Clayton and Revolutionary War martyr Colonel John Haslet, who died a hero’s death at the Battle of Princeton in 1777.  Visitors will meet these figures from Dover history along with Revolutionary War hero Major John Patton, 19th-century Dover’s James Fulton who was the first resident of Rose Cottage, and several 18th-century Dover widows with decided opinions about their husbands!

The First State Heritage Park at Dover is Delaware’s first urban “park without boundaries” linking historic and cultural sites in the city that has been the seat of state government since 1777.The park is a partnership of state agencies, under the leadership of Delaware State Parks,working in collaboration with city and county government, nonprofit organizations and the private sector.

Vol. 42, No. 169

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