Elgin History Museum





Buy Tickets Explore the Characters Volunteer Virtual Version Sponsor What to expect at the Bluff City Cemetery Walk? Visitors will be welcomed to the historic Bluff City Cemetery that has provided the final resting place for area residents since 1889. Once you arrive, you will be assigned a group number and a guide that will lead your group on a 70 minute tour that showcases gravesites of seven former residents. At the gravesite, an actor in period costume will bring the person to life! Hear their story and the impact they had on the history of Elgin. The group will rotate to the next site on the walk to meet another past Elgin resident until all sites have been visited. The entire walk is about 3/4 mile and there are chairs available at each performance site. This year, there will be expanded capacity for bus tours to accommodate visitors with limited mobility. More information will be posted soon.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”23724″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row equal_height=”yes”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”23725″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

Four Performances–Including a Virtual Option

Because of the incredible positive feedback received last year about the evening time slot, Saturday’s performances will be starting at 3pm and 5:30pm. Sunday performances will start at 11am and 1:30pm. Tickets are timed entry tickets rather than open all-day tickets, so choose the best show time for you. There will be NO TICKETS AVAILABLE  at the door. Ticket price is $15.00. The virtual version will be available on October 2nd for a $15.00 fee. Purchase tickets for the virtual version.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row equal_height=”yes”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]


The annual Bluff City Cemetery Walk in Elgin has been a tradition since 1987. It is organized by volunteers and staff of the Elgin History Museum. The event attracts hundreds of people to enjoy an outdoor theatrical performance and the beauty of the Bluff City Cemetery grounds. The event also seeks to educate people about Elgin’s unique history and the importance of preserving cemeteries.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”23726″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row equal_height=”yes” el_id=”tickets”][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1627133035589{padding-right: 40px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

How do I buy tickets?

The ticket vendor is Brown Paper Tickets. Visit the website to choose the date and time you would like to attend. Once you purchase a ticket, you will receive an email confirmation for the sale. Your name will be added to the will call list at the gate, but please bring along a copy of the confirmation email (digital or printed). The Bluff City Cemetery Walk is a rain or shine event. No refunds will be given unless the entire event is canceled.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

Virtual Cemetery Walk

The virtual version of the Bluff City Cemetery Walk will debut on October 2, 2022. Once you purchase this ticket, you will receive a confirmation email for your records. The link to the video will be sent out October 2, and the recording will be available for a month. You will be able to access the video on our YouTube channel, and watch it on your device of choice. BUY a ticket to the virtual tour TODAY![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row content_placement=”top” el_id=”virtual” css=”.vc_custom_1656706026894{padding-top: 0px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1627152266303{padding-right: 40px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1664300451584{padding-right: 20px !important;}”]

Can I volunteer for the event?

YES! The Cemetery Walk is run solely by volunteers! There are many opportunities such as
  • Guides that lead groups around the cemetery
  • Set up and take down crews
  • Greeters and ticket takers
Please contact rgalfi@gmail.com for more information or sign up online.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]


Last year over 600 people attended the Cemetery Walk. Your sponsorship of the event will show your commitment to the preservation and sharing of Elgin’s heritage.  The event is heavily promoted locally and in the surrounding suburbs. Sponsors will be featured the day of the event, on the Museum’s website and social channels leading up to the event, and receive free tickets!  Click here to view the full benefits and sponsor levels. Confirm your sponsorship by September 1, 2022.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row content_placement=”middle” css=”.vc_custom_1656893898236{padding-top: 0px !important;background-color: #384c93 !important;}” el_id=”explore”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Explore the Characters” font_container=”tag:h4|font_size:40|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row content_placement=”top” css=”.vc_custom_1627144517545{padding-top: 0px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/3″ css=”.vc_custom_1628636361557{margin-top: 25px !important;margin-right: 15px !important;margin-bottom: 5px !important;margin-left: 5px !important;border-top-width: 1px !important;border-right-width: 1px !important;border-bottom-width: 1px !important;border-left-width: 1px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;border-left-color: #00a651 !important;border-left-style: solid !important;border-right-color: #00a651 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;border-top-color: #00a651 !important;border-top-style: solid !important;border-bottom-color: #00a651 !important;border-bottom-style: solid !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Featured Character

Charlene “Barney” Barnett

Barnett, an Elgin native and graduate of Elgin High School played in the All American Girls Baseball League. She entered the league in 1947 playing for development teams, finishing off her 3rd and 4th seasons playing 2nd base for the Rockford Peaches. Her outstanding athletic ability helped the Peaches win the championship in 1950.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1656893562609{padding-top: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1656890692544{padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

Louis Carl Freeman

Louis Carl Freeman was a 45 year veteran of the Elgin Police Dept. He worked the night shift until 1898, when he was promoted to sergeant and eventually became acting marshal. He was also responsible for re-designing the officers uniforms in 1902 to include each officers rank and years of service. He served the City of Elgin longer than anyone at that time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Dr. Clara Todson

Clara Todson came to Elgin at an early age. A graduate of Elgin High School, she continued her studies at the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Chicago. After graduating with high honors she was able to open her own practice in the Spurling Building. She became involved with the suffrage movement forming the Civic Equality League addressing issues concerning women. They toured Illinois to gain support for their cause, along with many other organizations which helped to ratify the 19th amendment to the Constitution.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row content_placement=”top” css=”.vc_custom_1627144830927{padding-top: 0px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

The Kerber Brothers

The Kerber Brothers opened a retail meat market in downtown Elgin in 1882. A slaughterhouse and ice house expanded the business along the bank of the Fox River just south of Elgin in 1890. The Kerber Packing Company became one of the largest independent meat processing firms in the Midwest and remained in the Kerber family until 1950.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Mark Wentworth Dunham

Mark Dunham, importer and owner of Percheron horses had a breeders instinct. Living at Oaklawn Farm in Wayne, IL he was the first farmer that found a work horse that could manage the new farm equipment known as the Mechanical Reaper. Mark was influenced at an early age by the ‘can do’ entrepreneurial spirit of the age. His accomplishments earned the gratitude and admiration of many farmers and friends.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Adam H. Lowrie

Adam Lowrie, born in Scotland came to Elgin in 1882. Prominent in both business and church activities, Mr. Lowrie was a staunch supporter of everything that was good for Elgin. He was a successful newspaper man having bought both the Elgin Daily and the Weekly Advocate consolidating them into the The Daily News. He was honored by the board of Education in 1913 when Oak St. school was re-named the Adam H. Lowrie school.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Dr. Ora L. Pelton

Dr. Ora L. Pelton devoted his life to medicine. He opened the Pelton Clinic in Elgin in 1917 and along with two other doctors provided care for many patients in the Fox Valley area. He also belonged to the American, Illinois and Kane County Medical Societies. Through the years Doctor Pelton had traveled throughout the world studying latest developments in medicine.

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If you have any further questions about the tour, please call the Elgin History Museum at (847) 742-4248 or email cemeterywalk@elginhistory.org.

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