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Historical Society Brings Cemetery Stories Alive on Sunday

Join members of the Oak Park and River Forest Historical Society for The Tale of the Tombstones Cemetery Tour on Sunday, Oct. 21.

Stories from the past will come alive this weekend, thanks to the Oak Park and River Forest Historical Society this weekend on Sunday, Oct. 21 in Forest Park.

The Tale of the Tombstones Cemetery Tour starts at 1 p.m. with tours scheduled every 10 minutes until 2 p.m.

Tour guides will lead visitors through the Forest Home Cemetery, 863 Des Plaines Ave. in Forest Park, as costumed interpreters will play some of the notable—and obscure—people buried in the cemetery.

But have no fear; no one will be jumping out from behind a tombstone with a bloody axe on this tour, according to Frank Lipo, director the OPRF Historical Society.

"It's not that kind of tour," Lipo said. "It won't be like a haunted house."

Instead of going down a ghoulish path, the society hopes to entertain as well as teach interested parties about the rich history of the area.

"It's not only for history buffs," Lipo said. "It's for people who want to be entertained and hear a good story. These are real stories that have been dramatized."

Some of the stories told on the tour will include those of notable locals like the first Chicago Bears quarterback Joey Sternaman, who is buried at the Forest Home Cemetery, as well as three of the founding members of the Park District of Oak Park. The tour will also touch on one of Chicago's greatest tragedies, the Eastland Disaster, in which 884 people lost their lives when a passenger ship rolled over while docked in Chicago on Lake Michigan in 1915. 

Tours are expected to take an hour and a half to two hours. Tickets can still be purchased on the OPRF Historical Society's website, or at the cemetery on the day of the tour.

Tickets cost $10 for members and $15 for non-members of the society.

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