Monday, October 24, 2016

Monroe Halloween Fall Foliage Creepy Cemetery Tour and Hike for Families

A fall foliage walk over a short segment of the Paugussett Trail has been combined with a  peek back at the historical intrigue of Monroe’s East Village, creating a family-oriented outing Oct. 29, the Saturday morning before Halloween. Participants will meet at 8:45 a.m. for this fascinating tour that lasts from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., reservations for this free event are required and can be made at

Everything starts and finishes at the Meeting House (at the intersection of East Village Road and Barn Hill Road) where parking is available. All are asked to assemble there by 8:45 a.m. for an excursion that unfolds on foot and also by bus, focusing on the East Village with its sites steeped in the life—and interment-- of the Monroe of the 1800s and earlier.
 The Meeting House itself is an historic treasure, established as a Methodist Church in 1811 and today a repository for antiquities and heirlooms—everything from World War I uniforms to indian arrowheads-- assembled by the history society in one of its three buildings preserving  Monroe’s legacy of years past.   
 Next a bus carries the hikers to the Paugussett trailhead on East Village Road for a hike over a short stretch of the trail—hopefully ablaze with fall colors—led by David Solek, Monroe’s park ranger and tree warden.  Leaving the wooded area, the route takes you across Barn Hill Road to the stone ruins and wheel pit of the hoopskirt and corset factory that Foster Cargill operated in the mid-1800s for an informed commentary by cyberspace archeologist Kevin Daly.
Across the street are the contemporary versions of homes of Cargill and William Tucker,  the neighbor he was acquitted of murdering with a knife  in 1845 when  long-simmering animosity between the two was supposedly ignited by a slight to Cargill’s wife.

Both men are interred only feet apart and a short bus ride away in the East Village Cemetery (est. 1766) where tombstones mark the graves of Henry Plumb, the farmer-entrepreneur who converted Monroe’s indian caves into a tourist attraction in the 1890s, and his daughter Mary, reputedly so obese that P.T. Barnum wanted to recruit her as the fat lady in his circus. Here Vic Casaretti, the president of the historical society, and docent Nancy Zorena provide commentary.

  The tour then returns by bus to the Meeting House for apple cider and informal conversation intended to generate interest in Monroe’s past and allow participants to share their family heritage and experiences with life in the community as it once was, their own brushes with history.    

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