Cemetery Walk offers entertaining education in Mt. Pleasant
Glenn Smeltzer slowed his stroll to a stop and propped a sun-reddened forearm atop a tall, wooden walking stick bearing the hand-hewn head of a capped, Civil War soldier.
He'd just reached the crest of one of the many rises deep within the winding, 50-acre expanse of Mt. Pleasant Cemetery along Braddock Road Avenue in the borough.
As Smeltzer surveyed the rolling, pastoral terrain speckled with more than 7,500 headstones marking the final resting places of those buried beneath, he weighed his decision to attend the fifth annual Historic Cemetery Walk presented there Saturday by the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society.
“I think this is really great what they're doing here,” said Smeltzer, 78, who previously led similar walks for those in search of the graves of Civil War veterans in Harrold's Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery and St. Clair Cemetery, both in Hempfield.
“I signed up to come to this two or three years ago, but it was raining, so I came back today,” he said.
He wasn't disappointed, as temperatures peaked in the low 80s, and billowy white clouds ornamented a crystalline blue sky over the grounds where history was brought to life before the eyes of Smeltzer and more than 85 other visitors from around the region.
“We had about 30 people here at 10 (minutes) after 12 (p.m.) (the event's official start time),” said Beverly LaGorga, the society's vice chairwoman and event coordinator, with a telling smile.
Since 2010, the society has presented the yearly event in which attendees have an opportunity to learn about some of Mt. Pleasant's most influential late citizens, according to Rick Meason, the society's president.
“We spend months getting ready for this,” he said.
Each year, the event is orchestrated to not only pay homage to local military veterans, but to spotlight several prominent, historical individuals buried at the cemetery.
The society provides information on each person to area thespians who voluntarily carry out the roles.
“We try to feature people who have a story to tell, and there are many that can,” Meason said.
In addition to Diana Lucia, who portrayed “The Victorian Lady,” this year's installment spotlighted Charles L. Kuhn, a local drug store proprietor, who was portrayed by Ed Kelemen of New Florence; Charles E. Mullin, a cashier for Farmers and Merchants National Bank and a prominent real estate and insurance salesman, portrayed by Kelemen's son, Erik Kelemen; Carrie E. Noss, a talented teacher and artist and the proprietor of the Noss Hotel on Main Street, portrayed by Delores Love.
The fourth person to be featured was late Mt. Pleasant Borough Police Chief Denver Braden Pore, the only Mt. Pleasant Borough officer ever to be killed in the line of duty.
He was portrayed by Ed's younger son, Brendan, 25, the same age as Pore when he was slain.
“Dad asked me if I wanted to play (Pore's) part, and I love doing this type of stuff, so he gave me the script,” said Brendan Kelemen while awaiting another group of event visitors in a police uniform near Pore's grave.
On the evening of April 5, 1906, just one month after he took the job as chief, Pore was shot in an altercation with Andrew Lindsay Jr. He died of his wounds on April 7, 1906.
“In my opinion, Chief Pore deserves an award for what he did that night,” Brendan Kelemen said.
Between the encounters with those enlivening these prominent, historical figures, attendees were regaled with a bounty of enlightening information by Cynthia Stevenson, the event's hostess, a society member and borough councilwoman.
“We are pleased to have this opportunity to showcase our town's largest cemetery,” she said.
Stevenson was joined by Meason and fellow society members Jaime Golobish, Jim Lozier, Richard Snyder and Aaron Wolk, who each took turns serving as volunteer guides.
As one of the last throngs of visitors made their way to the walk's conclusion, Meason had a message:
“I hope that you found this tour educational, informational and maybe even a little bit entertaining.”
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mt. Pleasant Area announces co-valedictorians for Class of 2015
- Recent Mt. Pleasant Area graduate achieved perfect attendance
- Mt. Pleasant Area elementary students meet boy with craniofacial syndrome
- Mt. Pleasant Animal Hospital nears golden anniversary
- Mt. Pleasant Township business owner repeats Make-A-Wish gesture
- Mt. Pleasant Area gains grant for Life Skills program
- Storms take toll on Mt. Pleasant Township Municipal Authority
- Mt. Pleasant’s street master marks 5 decades on the job
- Car cruise carries on despite rain in Mt. Pleasant
- Local man recovers relic from razed Mt. Pleasant church
- Mt. Pleasant-area sticks to campaign to curb underage drinking