2022 Cemetery Walk

2022 Cemetery Walk

What to expect at the Bluff City Cemetery Walk?

Parking will be available outside the cemetery gates – see the map. 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. 


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 1pm. 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. Buy tickets today! 

The virtual version will be available on October 3rd for a $15.00 fee.


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.


How do I buy tickets?

The ticket vendor this year 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.

Virtual Cemetery Walk

The virtual version of the Bluff City Cemetery Walk will debut on October 3, 2021. Tickets are available here. Once you purchase this ticket, you will receive a confirmation email for your records. The link to the video will be sent out October 3, 2021, 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!

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.


Because of the new format and extra day, we are expecting double the usual attendance! Make sure you don’t miss out on this unique sponsorship opportunity. Click here to view the benefits and sponsor levels. Confirm your sponsorship by September 1, 2021.

Explore the Characters

Featured Character

Daniel Broadnax Sr.

Well-known Elgin resident, Daniel Broadnax Sr., came to Elgin in 1925 working 11 years at Saxe Shoe Rebuilders before opening his own shop at 450 Dundee Ave. He worked there until 1975, when he decided to retire after working in the shoe repair business for 50 years. He was a dedicated family man, active in the Second Baptist Church and a member of the Mount Moriah Masonic Lodge.

Ralph Elliott Abell

Well known architect in Elgin and Chicago. Designed many schools and public buildings. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1904, continued his education at Cornell University and was awarded the Sands medal for excellence in design.

William Grosvenor Hubbard

Came to Elgin in 1843, worked as a merchant in a Chicago Street store, was responsible for bringing the first railroad to Elgin. He was a devout member of the Congregational Church and was opposed to slavery.

Eliza Ann Hadwen Lovell

Born in England in 1844, she came to Elgin in 1876 as the new bride of Vincent Lovell. They had a home built at 600 Margaret Place, which eventually became known as the original site of the Larkin Home. She opened her home to many homeless children, adopted many children of family members.

Henry Sherman

Arrived in Elgin with his family in 1838. Farmer and businessman, he donated land and a building for the first hospital in Elgin in 1888. This would be named Sherman Hospital.

John West Ranstead

Attended Elgin Academy and served as a judge in Elgin for 19 years. His law office was on the second floor of the Ranstead building on the corner of Spring and DuPage streets.

Elgin Women in WWII

Women entered the work force during WW II to join the war effort. Their mission was to assemble ships, tanks and airplanes on the home front. They did not think twice about heeding President Franklin Roosevelts call to build a “Great Arsenal of Democracy”.

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