To help remind and educate residents about historical people and families, the Jefferson City Cemetery Resources Board and Historic City of Jefferson will host the second Woodland-Old City Cemetery walking tour this weekend.
The walking tour is scheduled 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. If it is rained out, it will be rescheduled for 1-4 p.m. April 22.
The walking tour features graves of those who played a role in Jefferson City's history, such as historic Jefferson City families, popular former doctors, a World War I veteran and a Missouri State Penitentiary warden.
Several people volunteered to host the graves on the tour to provide histories of more than a dozen individuals. The hosted graves are the Gustavus Parsons family, the Knaup family, William and Robert Young's families, Harold Linkenmeyer, Charolette (Rich) Herrick, John B. Ruthven, Elias Basye Cordell, Sarah (Caffery) Walker, Horace Swift, Elias Barcoft, and the Clark Mausoleum.
"People are sometimes wary to wander around because, if you go out wandering on your own, you're going to have a hard time figuring things out because the tombstones are in pretty bad shape and it's a big cemetery," board chair Nancy Thompson said. "If you got people out there who can tell you who this person is, it'll help make people more aware."
The door on the mausoleum normally is locked, but it will be open during the walking tour, Thompson added.
Hosts plan to tie these graves to homes and landmark buildings in Jefferson City.
"I think if you can tie people to where they lived (and worked), it makes it seem more real," she said. "You have a tendency to forget most of Jefferson City wasn't here back then. It becomes less abstract because if you know they were more than just the name and these were their children and this is when they got married. If you can see that that was a house they used to live in, then it makes it more grounded."
Some graves not hosted will have QR codes on them. Visitors can download a free QR code reader app and scan the codes to access biographical info on the person, along with photos and links to family members.
Ruthie Caplinger will host the Knaup family grave Saturday and said she thinks the tour will show residents the cemetery is a community asset.
"Not only is it a window into our collective past, but each stone represents the story of a real person," said Caplinger, an exploration, enrichment and research teacher at Jefferson City Public Schools' Southwest Early Childhood Center. "We should strive to maintain the cemetery out of respect to those who lie there — the pioneers who laid the foundations of our city, including Lincoln University and the Missouri State Penitentiary."
The board will accept donations during the tour. Thompson said they want to repair the tablet stones and tombstones so residents don't forget individuals' histories.
There are 26 tablet stones the board hopes to repair, similar to the Sarah Walker grave, but each tombstone costs about $1,500 to fix.
The board has been repairing Sarah Walker's grave for several months as it was the most disrepaired tablestone in the cemetery, Thompson said. She added she hopes the grave will be repaired by the walking tour.
The Cemetery Resources Board hosted a community walking tour a couple of years ago, which saw more than 300 people. The board wanted to do a tour last spring but was unable to do so.
The Cemetery Resource Board submitted an application nominating the cemetery to the National Register earlier this month. The Historic Preservation Commission passed a resolution in support of the application last week.
The Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation tentatively plans to review the nomination May 11 in Clinton.
The commission recognized the Woodland-Old City Cemetery and the adjacent Jefferson City National Cemetery as local landmarks in 1994.
Old City Cemetery was established in 1826 and Woodland Cemetery in 1838.