Sixth Annual ‘Stories Behind the Stones’ PDF Print E-mail

Fairview Cemetery was established in the early 1840’s and was first called the Northern Burial Grounds.  Today, Fairview Cemetery is 65 plus acres and contains over 30,000 grave sites.  Many of New Albany’s first families are buried in Fairview Cemetery.  Come join us for our annual tour through this historic cemetery to meet some of the members of those families.

The public is once again invited to Fairview Cemetery to enjoy stories of New Albany’s rich history.  The “Stories Behind the Stones,” is a one and one-half hour walking tour of the cemetery beginning every 15 minutes from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday and from 5 to 8 p.m.  September 23 and Saturday, September 24 with a rain date of Sunday, September 25th.   Handicapped accessible tours will be available again this year.  Several tours each night will have golf carts to assist guests for the half-mile tour around the cemetery.

Led by members of the Friends of Fairview Stories Behind the Stones Committee, each tour will treat participants to brief accounts of people’s lives at the family markers as told by those dressed in period costume and assuming their historic roles.  This year the focus will be on New Albany residents who had state wide influence.  “In the 200 plus years of New Albany, some of the city’s residents contributed greatly to Indiana’s history – but many are not aware of these contributions.” remarked Kathy Kessinger,  “We feel it was very important to share these stories as part of Indiana’s Bicentennial year.”

Guests will learn about a New Albany resident who became Indiana’s 11th Governor, Ashbel Willard and Michael Kerr who was elected to represent two different Indiana Districts in the United States House of Representatives on two different occasions.  There will also be a scene that centers around the signing of Indiana’s State Constitution in 1816.   This scene will be located near the gravesite of Patrick Henry Shields, who was one of the signers of that constitution.  The committee is working on 2 other scenes but are keeping this information under wraps at this time.  “We want there to be some surprises in the cemetery this year!” remarked Ms. Kessinger.

There are over 30,000 grave sites at Fairview Cemetery – so there are many stories to be told.  Each year all the stories are different from the previous years’ and we have scheduled these themes for the following years:

2017 – “Ladies Night in the Cemetery” - Stories will be told that show how the ladies of New Albany contributed to our rich history

2018 – “Silver Grove Night at Fairview” – Silver Grove was a small town east of New Albany in the late 1880’s and early 1900’s.   All the scenes this year will reflect what life was like in small towns around the turn of the century.


Tickets to the event are $10 for adults and $5 for children in kindergarten through eighth grade and are available by calling 812-704-3248. Master Card, Visa and Discover accepted. If you know someone who would be interested in one of the handicapped accessible tours – please call to make your reservations soon.

Barbara Zoller, Event Coordinator comments that, “Fairview Cemetery has so many stories to tell and our group cannot wait to share the information they have researched on New Albany resident who had statewide influence.”  “And, back by popular demand, we will have golf carts to assist those individuals that don’t feel like they can walk the entire tour route” Zoller also states, “This year we have added an additional golf cart tours because they were so popular in the previous years.  Several tours each evening will be handicapped accessible tours with the golf carts.”

Zoller encourages people to purchase tickets early because this event has sold out the previous years.  Those wanting to reserve tickets for the handicapped accessible tour each night will need to call early as those tours are expected to fill up quickly.  “We have also added 5 additional tour times on Saturday because we are expecting more interest this year due to Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration”

Participants should use Fairview Cemetery’s main entrance on Culbertson Ave. between E. 5th St. and E. 7th St. to begin the half-mile tour through the cemetery.


“The activity is designed to respectfully honor those buried at Fairview and to tell about their contributions to our city’s history in a fun and educational way,” Zoller said, “These tours through Fairview Cemetery are enjoyable for all ages.”  Proceeds from these events go towards the ongoing preservation and restoration efforts at Fairview Cemetery.

The next event in 2016 is the 175th Celebration of Fairview Cemetery followed by “Find Your Ancestor Day” on Saturday, October 22nd.

This event was previously scheduled earlier this year but had to be canceled due to rain and thunderstorms.

CUTLINE: The Sixth Annual “STORIES BEHIND THE STONES” Historic Fairview Cemetery Tour. New Albany’s The Friends of Fairview presents this event each year to preserve not only the stories of those who are buried at Fairview Cemetery, but also to assist in the ongoing preservation and restoration projects in the cemetery.  Pictured above, Willard was the Governor of the State Indiana from 1857 to 1860.  Willard was the youngest governor to be elected and the first governor to die while holding this office. This will be an entertaining and educational walk through Fairview Cemetery on September 23 and 24. The one and one-half hour tours will begin every 15 minutes between 6 and 8 pm on Friday and from 5 to 8 pm on Saturday.   Handicapped tours with golf carts are also available at some tour times. To purchase tickets, please call 812-704-3248. Master Card, Visa and Discover accepted.