Cemetery Lantern Tour travels to Maple Shade

The Independence Historical Society hosted the third annual Cemetery Lantern Tour at Maple Shade Cemetery on the corner of Brecksville and Rockside roads on Oct. 21 and 28. The sold-out event featured community actors telling the stories of prominent residents of Independence.

According to the Independence Historical Society Facebook page, “Our cemetery tours are intended as tributes to past residents of Independence by sharing their stories and continuing their legacies.  The event aligns with the Independence Historical Society’s purpose to perpetuate the memory of those who lived and served in our community.” 

This was the first year the tour was held at Maple Shade; its first two years took place at Hemlock Cemetery on Brecksville Road. Maple Shade is home to over 4,000 gravesites. Deceased residents highlighted on the tour included Andrew Schaaf, after whom Schaaf Road was named; Leonard Merkel, founder of Merkel’s general store; and Gladys Conklin, founder of the Independence Ladies Auxiliary.

Attendees were treated to seasonal refreshments after the tour. Ticket sales from the event help the historical society maintain the Bramley House and Historic Hall.

Anyone interested in acting for future tours can contact Independencehistory@gmail.com. ∞

The Maple Shade Cemetery Lantern Tour was sold out over two weekends in October with dozens of residents attending. Photos by Kim Scott Sowinski.

This stone building in the cemetery was
used to store bodies in the winter when
the ground was too frozen to bury them.

Kim Rivera portrayed Milly Lusk, longtime
recording secretary for the Independence
Historical Society and big sports fan.

On our cover (photo): Community members gathered at Maple Shade Cemetery to hear stories of deceased residents as part of the historical society’s annual lantern tour. Callia Shumay, Independence High School senior, represented the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll at the gravesite of Henry Lo Conti. Photos by Kim Scott Sowinski.