Tours and Events

Twain Tour webCedar Hill Cemetery Foundation shares the art, history and natural resources of Cedar Hill with the public through creative programming designed to expand the cemetery’s visibility and to foster appreciation and support. Below is a listing of the Foundation’s upcoming tours and events. Please check back often as this listing is continuously updated!

Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation’s 2015 Tours & Events Calendar

Panel Discussion – Jacob Weidenmann’s Hartford
Thursday, April 23, 5:30 pm reception, 6:00 pm lecture
Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street, Hartford
Admission: Free
Don Poland, John Alexopolous and Frank Hagaman provide a historical context for landscape architect Jacob Weidenmann’s Hartford commissions which include Bushnell Park and Cedar Hill Cemetery. In the mid-19th century, the capitol city was booming, driven by industries such as publishing, insurance, banking, munitions and manufacturing. Along with success came growing pains, including crime, crowded tenements, poverty, poor sanitation, and polluted water and air. The panelists will discuss influences, such as rapid growth and industrialization, which shaped the desire to “landscape” the city.

Bushnell Park Tour & Butler-McCook Garden Reception
Thursday, May 7, 6:00 pm (Arch Climb at 5:30 pm)
Meet at Memorial Arch, Bushnell Park
Admission: $20; Members $16 (includes reception)
Don Poland leads a tour of Bushnell Park focused on its historic development (the first municipal park in the nation to be conceived, built and paid for by citizens through a popular vote) and important architectural features including the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch (1866), the Capitol (1876), Corning Fountain (1899) and the Carousel (1974). Tour begins at 6:00 pm with access to the Memorial Arch at 5:30 pm. Reception to follow at the Jacob Weidenmann-designed Butler-McCook Garden on Hartford’s Main Street.

Feathered Friends Walk
Saturday, May 9, 6:30 am
Free for All
Join Jay Kaplan from Roaring Brook Nature Center for his annual bird walk at Cedar Hill Cemetery. Jay will lead participants through our ornamental foreground in search of resident birds. Appropriate hiking shoes, water and binoculars are strongly recommended. Meet near the bridge along the entrance drive.

Institute of Living - Tree Walk
Saturday, May 16, 10:00 am
200 Retreat Avenue, Hartford
Admission: $10; Members $8
John Kehoe conducts a tour of the Institute of Living’s notable tree collection, considered one of the greatest concentrations of historic trees in the state. Although Frederick Law Olmsted designed the grounds of the Institute of Living in 1861, Cedar Hill’s landscape architect Jacob Weidenmann executed the project.

Jacob Weidenmann & Cedar Hill Cemetery
Thursday, May 21, 6:00 pm
Admission: $10; Members $8
Historical actor Jason Scappaticci as Jacob Weidenmann will engage participants with his first-person portrayal of Cedar Hill’s landscape architect. Foundation Director Beverly Lucas will then lead guests on a tour of the memorial grounds focusing on early lots and monuments that shaped the cemetery’s landscape.

Tree Buffs Tour – Connecticut Trails Day
Saturday, June 6, 10:00 am
Free for All
Tree expert John Kehoe leads this 2-mile walk featuring Cedar Hill Cemetery’s rare and notable trees. The tour, through the ornamental foreground and historic memorial sections, will highlight trees such as the beautiful European Weeping Beech, the unusual (for the Northeast) Umbrella Magnolia and the Huss Hemlock named for a resident of Cedar Hill.

Butterfly Hunt
Saturday, June 20, 10:00 am
Free for All
Hunt for butterflies with Roy Zartarian and the Connecticut Butterfly Association. Cedar Hill Cemetery supports a significant butterfly population, with nearly 20 species spotted here, including the illusive Hackberry Emperor. Connecticut Butterfly Association volunteers will help find and net butterflies for viewing. Appropriate hiking shoes, long pants and bug repellent are recommended.

What a Way to Go!
Saturday, June 27, 10:00 am
Admission: $5.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
Mayhem, murder and the hazards of everyday life in times gone by are the subjects of this tour led by Evelyn Bollert. Transportation with a mind of its own, constricting corsets, exploding boilers, odorless gases, melancholia, mysticism, mysteries and more – Cedar Hill Cemetery’s denizens tell us tales of the dangers of daily living in the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

Notable Physicians of Cedar Hill
Saturday, July 11, 10:00 am
Admission: $5.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
Cedar Hill Board member Len Oberg leads this new tour highlighting prominent physicians buried at Cedar Hill. Hear about the discoverer of anesthesia, the founding of Hartford Hospital, and other stories of notable doctors and surgeons including Henry Stearns, Cincinnatus Taft and Thomas Hepburn.

When Johnny Comes Marching Home: After the War of Rebellion
Saturday, July 18, 10:00 am
Admission: $5.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
In her new tour, Hartford researcher Mary A. Falvey shares the stories of Cedar Hill residents and veterans after the end of the Civil War – those who made Hartford great, those who changed society, and those who were left to remember, honor and mourn.

Music Among the Memorials
Friday, July 24, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm; Rain Date: Saturday, July 25, 6:00 pm
Free for All
Join us at Cedar Hill Cemetery for an evening of music. Greg Wilfrid & Jeff DesRosier bring the rich tradition of Celtic folk music and storytelling to Cedar Hill with their traditional songs and musical arrangements. Bring blankets, chairs and picnic dinners for a night to remember.

Mark Twain’s Companions & Cohorts
Saturday, July 25, 10:00 am
Admission: $5.00; CHCF Members, Mark Twain Museum & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
While Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, is laid to rest in Elmira, New York, many of his Hartford companions and cohorts are interred at Cedar Hill Cemetery. Learn about Twain’s life and his many Nook Farm friends, neighbors and colleagues during this tour led by popular guide Steve Courtney. Featured residents will include Reverend Joseph Hopkins Twichell, Charles Dudley Warner and Isabella Beecher Hooker.

Dreams & Spirit Communications
Wednesday, August 5, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Admission: $15.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: $10.00
Reservations Required – Call 860-956-3311
Elaine Kuzmeskus, nationally recognized Spiritualist medium and author of Dream Zone and The Art of Mediumship, will discuss dream interpretation, psychic events and spirit communication. Following her presentation, she will provide readings for selected members of the audience (chosen by lottery).

Sunset Tour
Thursday, August 13, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Admission: $5.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
Join us for a tour through the historic memorial grounds featuring some of Cedar Hill Cemetery’s most notable residents and monuments. Highlights include the monuments of General Griffin Stedman, Katharine Hepburn and Mark Howard. Participants will enjoy watching the sun set over Cedar Mountain during the walk.

Governors of Connecticut
Saturday, August 15, 10:00 am
Admission: $5.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
Join gubernatorial researcher Patrick Haggerty on a tour of state governors interred at Cedar Hill Cemetery. You will be introduced to individuals that have held the state’s highest office and be treated to stories about their lives, times and accomplishments.

Movie Night: Featuring Katharine Hepburn in Pat and Mike
Friday, August 21, 7:30 pm; Rain Date: Saturday, August 22, 7:30 pm
Admission: $5.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
Bring a blanket and your favorite candy for a movie under the stars at Cedar Hill Cemetery! Enjoy Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in Pat and Mike (1952). Hepburn, a brilliant athlete and Tracy, an unscrupulous sports promoter face mobsters, a jealous boxer and a growing attraction in this romantic comedy.

Hartford Landmarks & Legacy Tour
Saturday, August 29, 10:00 am
Admission: $5.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
From the Goodwins to Colts, Keneys and Popes, Cedar Hill Cemetery is the final resting place for many of the namesakes of Hartford’s landmarks. Explore the connections between these prominent residents and the cemetery with former Cedar Hill staff member Mellissa Craig.

Mark Twain’s Minister – Lecture by Steve Courtney
Thursday, September 3, 5:30 pm
Admission: $5.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
Steve Courtney, author of the award-winning Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain’s Closest Friend, lectures about the Congregational minister who for forty years was the confidant, traveling companion and conversational foil for the great writer and humorist Mark Twain. Courtney, a former writer and editor for The Hartford Courant and publicist at the Mark Twain House & Museum received a 2009 Connecticut Book Award for his Twichell biography.

Mystery Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, September 12, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Admission: $5.00 per person
Reservations Required – Call 860-956-3311
Another Cedar Hill mystery has developed and we need your help. Teams of up to four people each compete to find and follow clues throughout the memorial grounds. Once teams have collected all their clues, it’s time to solve the mystery. It’s a race to the finish, as prizes will be awarded to teams who solve the mystery the fastest.

Swimming Against the Tide in Pin Curls and Crinoline –
Lecture by Susan Campbell

Thursday, September 17, 5:30 pm
Admission: $5.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
Susan Campbell, author of Tempest-Tossed The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker, discusses the noted abolitionist, suffragette and spiritualist. Youngest of the well-known Beecher family, which included Rev. Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, Isabella was one of the most influential players in the movement for women’s suffrage. Campbell, a former Hartford Courant columnist, contributed to the paper’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning coverage of the shootings at Connecticut Lottery headquarters.

Cedar Hill’s Exceptional Women
Saturday, September 26, 10:00 am
Admission: $5.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
Women’s historian Grace Parks Mitchell leads this tour that highlights the extraordinary accomplishments of some of Cedar Hill’s most notable women including Virginia Thrall Smith, Elizabeth Jarvis Colt, Anne Tracy Morgan and Katharine Houghton Hepburn. Hartford’s Victorian era serves as a backdrop to demonstrate the enormity of their contributions to Connecticut and worldwide advancement.

The Artists of Cedar Hill
Saturday, October 3, 10:00 am
Admission: $5.00; CHCF & Let’s Go Arts Members: Free
Learn about the lives and accomplishments of some of Cedar Hill’s noteworthy artists. Debbie Alter leads this tour focusing on the cemetery’s creative residents including William Glackens, Albert Entress and Katharine Seymour Day.

Hallowed History Lantern Tour
Friday, October 30, 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Admission: $15.00; Reservations Required – Call 860-956-3311
Join us for the only night Cedar Hill Cemetery is open to the public after dark. Led by lantern light, attendees will visit the final resting places of some of Cedar Hill’s notable and not-so-notable residents. Character actors will share their true-yet-darker-tales. To ensure your participation in this tour, reservations are required for specific time slots. Book your reservations early by calling 860-956-3311. Please note: This tour may NOT be suitable for children under 13. Wear appropriate walking shoes and bring a flashlight.