DCCA News: Real treasures


By Marilyn Delk - DCCA News



Darke County is home to many treasures including Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, the bejeweled Beaux Arts building that hosts many Darke County Center for the Arts presentations and from which DCCA’s annual Ghost Walk departs. Once again this year, the fun fundraiser will be held the weekend before Halloween, Friday, Oct. 26, Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28; participants will gather at the Hall at 7:30 p.m., and then depart to visit various sites throughout downtown Greenville where spooky stories will be spun and eerie events revealed. However, this year in honor of the organization’s celebration of its 40th anniversary season, a second Ghost Walk exploring another local treasure has been added to DCCA’s schedule.

Greenville Union Cemetery is home to much revered history, its over 100 acres serving as the final resting place for hundreds of local loved ones since the 1830s. On Sunday, Oct. 28 at 4:30 p.m. and on Halloween night, Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 6 p.m., the Cemetery will be home to DCCA’s Ghost Walk, featuring many newly discovered tales as well as favorite stories from past walks.

Like St. Clair Memorial Hall, Greenville Union Cemetery harbors our community’s heritage. However, those who lay buried on the serene grounds include some scoundrels as well as heroic figures. While six former members of United States Congress are interred in the cemetery, the remains of Monroe Roberson, the only person ever legally hanged for murder in Darke County, also reside there.

Among the Cemetery’s impressive monuments are those honoring Frank McWhinney and his family; in addition to the handsome family gravesite, Frank and his wife Martha also endowed the monument honoring union soldiers that dominates the cemetery’s veterans’ section, and funded the striking archway marking the main entrance to the Cemetery. A massive iron traffic gate that was closed every day at sundown and then reopened the following dawn plus an iron fence that stretched a hundred yards north of the gate were also included in the original gift; however, during World War II, those metal components were donated to the national scrap drive supporting our country’s war efforts. It is believed that Mr. McWhinney also paid for the modest but substantial gravestone standing near his family plot which marks the final resting spot for the above-mentioned convicted murderer, Monroe Roberson, although the benefactor’s reasons for this act have been lost to history. You will learn more about all of those fascinating figures during the Ghost Walk.

DCCA’s Ghost Walk consists of astounding stories that leave much unexplained, and cause some to ask “Is that story real?” Without philosophizing too much about the meaning of reality, that question can best be answered by explaining that these tales have been revealed by people who experienced them, people who are quite sane and trustworthy. So, yes, these stories are real, although shaded in mystery.

While the stories may contain chilling and sometimes grisly details, both Ghost Walks can be enjoyed by those of all ages; however, DCCA reminds potential attendees that that the events take place on uneven surfaces in dimly lit areas, and require being able to walk without resting for about an hour and a half. Tickets for each of the Ghost Walks are $10; however, advance tickets to the Cemetery Ghost Walk are only available by contacting DCCA at 937-547-0908 or dcca@darkecountyarts.org, online at www.darkecountyarts.org, and at Greenville Public Library. Tickets for the Downtown Ghost Walk can also be purchased at Ann’s Gifts, Readmore’s Hallmark, and Darke County Visitors Bureau Welcome Center in downtown Greenville, as well as at the door at St. Clair Memorial Hall. Tickets may be purchased at the North Main Street entrance to Greenville Union Cemetery immediately prior to the Cemetery Ghost Walk, which will begin at the Mausoleum before moving through the grounds.

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By Marilyn Delk

DCCA News

Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at marilynd@bright.net. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at marilynd@bright.net. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.