Historical Society to host Woodland Cemetery tours

QUINCY — Iris Nelson of the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County says every stone has a story.

Of course, she is referring to the burial stones at Woodland Cemetery, where the Historical Society will be hosting its annual ghost tours — and biggest fundraiser of the year — this Saturday and every Saturday for the rest of October.

There will be four tours each night at 5:30, 6, 6:30 and 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15 per person and can be purchased the night of the tour. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, space for each tour is limited, so it is recommended that tickets be purchased in advance by calling the Historical Society’s offices at 217-222-1835.

This year, there will be two different programs.

This Saturday and on Halloween night, the Historical Society will be giving tours of the Rogers’ Vault, located on South Fifth.

Nelson, who serves as the program chair on the society’s board of directors, says the vault was built in 1876.

“Timothy Rogers had the vault built out of Vermont marble and he had it shipped into Quincy and built it for his family,” she said. “It’s a small one, but there are, like, 112 spaces for people in there for his family. It’s just really fascinating to tour it and to hear the story of Timothy Rogers and his family.”

On Oct. 17 and 24, the Historical Society will present a program called “Woodland’s Civil War Legacy.”

“We have a couple of surprise characters there, and we’ll go to some of the important Civil War figures and hear remarkable stories,” Nelson said.

The Historical Society views Woodland Cemetery as an important landmark and an integral part of local history.

Woodland Cemetery is part of the legacy of a Quincy founder. John Wood donated 45 acres to the city of Quincy, to which 5 acres were later added. Wood eventually built a cottage there, appointed himself sexton and was at the cemetery almost daily to observe its beauty. Wood is buried there.

Woodland Cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

“It’s a history of the community, and each of the founders, the pioneers, the manufacturing locals, of which there are many, are buried there,” Nelson said.

This is one of the reasons that the society puts a spotlight on Woodland yearly.

“It’s just interesting to hear the stories of all the people who are buried there, those that are known and those that are unknown,” Nelson said. “I think people enjoy the walking around and realizing that literally every stone has a story, and we make the stories as real as we possibly can, so that it’s almost a living history book in a sense.”

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