Fayetteville has always been full of fascinating history. Many notable events and people have helped shape who we are as a city including: being the only Fayetteville in the entire country actually visited by the Marque De Lafayette of the Revolutionary War; being paid a “visit” by General Sherman during the Civil War; George Herman Ruth receiving the nickname “Babe” and hitting his first home run on Gillespie Street; the first North Carolina news/talk radio station; Merle Haggard premiering the classic “Okie from Muskogee” on Fort Bragg; and hip-hop artist J-Cole being raised here.
Fayetteville continues to make its mark on the nation and world, thus truly making it an All-American city. Although the remarkable history of Fayetteville is enough to make any resident and native proud, some of it is just plain scary. Explore this city’s chilling past by joining the Transportation and Local History Museum as it hosts this year’s Hallow’s Eve Cemetery Walk. Sponsored by the Dogwood Festival and presented by the museum, this bone-chilling tour will take willing participants on a walk through Cross Creek Cemetery #1 to relive accounts of eerie consequence and spooky encounters on the night of Oct. 30.
The hour-long tour will explore some of Fayetteville’s most notable residents who were alive during times like the Revolutionary and Civil War and the Antebellum South. Through actors and reenactments, these creepy tales will come alive.
Bruce Daws, city historian and historic properties manager for the city and director of Transportation and Local History Museum, is excited to lead the tour. The point, for him, is to get people interested in the history of Fayetteville through shock. “We’ll talk about what happens to the body when it decays. It is factual but definitely more macabre. And it is an opportunity to learn about Fayetteville’s history,” he said.
Along with startling the senses, Daws is also making the tour an educational experience. One of three municipal cemeteries in North Carolina, Cross Creek Cemetery #1 dates back to 1775. As the tour advances, he will open minds by explaining what happens to a body after death and showing post-mortem artifacts (skeletal remains). Daws will also explain the symbolic meanings of tombstones and divulge interesting facts about the stone cutters throughout the cemetery.
The Transportation and Local History Museum also serves as a centerpiece for the history of automotive transportation of all types. Throughout the year, the museum hosts speakers, outreach programs and the farmers market in downtown Fayetteville. Past exhibits include the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the 150th of the Civil War and the 100th anniversary of Fayetteville High School (now Terry Sanford High School).
Come out Oct. 30 and enjoy a night of spooky history and interesting facts as the Dogwood Festival presents Historic Hauntings with the Transportation and Local History Museum. Tickets are available for $10 and must be purchased in advance at the Dogwood Festival’s office located at 145 Person Street. For more information, call (910) 323-1934.
Photo: The Hallows Eve cemetery walk is a chance to walk on Fayetteville’s dark side.