The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s First State Heritage Park will offer lantern tours of The Green and three Dover cemeteries at 8 p.m. Fridays from April 5 to June 7.
— Lantern tour of The Green: 8 p.m. April 5 and May 3 and 17. Join historical interpreters from the First State Heritage Park dressed in colonial attire as they tell the stories of historic Dover. Dover’s public square was the site of markets and fairs, suffragists and abolitionists, soldiers and slaves, lawmakers and lawbreakers. Hear tales of fires that threatened the town, of poisonings and of love.
— Christ Episcopal Church cemetery: 8 p.m. May 10. Encounter characters from the past to hear tales of the tombstones, along with stories of joy and sorrow about those who were laid to rest within the walls of the churchyard, from Caesar Rodney’s unrequited love to Civil War opponents buried within yards of one another.
— Old Wesley United Methodist Church cemetery: 8 p.m. May 24 and 8:30 p.m. June 7. In a new lantern tour, the stories of those buried in Wesley United Methodist Church’s cemetery help reveal the meanings behind the elaborate rituals associated with death and mourning in the 19th century. Uncover the meanings of the funeral art that decorates the tombstones of the high and low classes alike and what those symbols might reveal about the people buried beneath them. Varied and often unusual funerary customs of the Victorian era, including mourning clothes, will be revealed by an undertaker and a grieving widow.
— Presbyterian Church of Dover cemetery: 8 p.m. May 31. Visit by lantern light the Presbyterian Church of Dover’s cemetery, where Delawareans and their families are buried. Among them is John M. Clayton and Revolutionary War martyr Col. John Haslet, who died a hero’s death at the Battle of Princeton in 1777. Meet these figures from Dover history, along with Revolutionary War hero Major John Patton, 19th-century Dover’s James Fulton, who was the first resident of Rose Cottage, and several 18th-century Dover widows with decided opinions about their husbands.
Admission is $10. Space is limited; call 739-9194 to reserve a lantern. Lantern tours canceled due to inclement weather will not be rescheduled. The churchyard tours are made possible with the cooperation of the Presbyterian Church of Dover, Christ Episcopal Church and Wesley United Methodist Church.
For more, visit destateparks.com/heritagepark.