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Manatee Village Historical Park will host Tombstone Tours, guided walking tours of the 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds, on evenings in October.
Experience the historic grounds by torchlight, led by a costumed interpreter.
Docents will describe the history of the Burying Grounds, personal histories of those buried there, and why the tombstones look the way they do. For example, did you know that oak leaves and acorns carved into a headstone symbolized strength, honor and virtue?
The 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds is the oldest public cemetery in Manatee County. It was the first burying ground for the Village of Manatee, which was the first established community between Tampa and Key West, dating to 1842.
The Burying Grounds were in use from 1850-1892, with a few family burials occurring up until the 1960s.
The tours will take place on the following dates. Gates open at 6:30pm, with tours beginning at 6:45pm. Tours will conclude by 8pm.
- Friday, October 11
- Saturday, October 12
- Friday, October 18
- Saturday, October 19
- *Presentation of tour in Church (rather than cemetery) at 5:30pm on Thursday, October 24*
Please note that this event will take place at dusk by torchlight on uneven ground. It will require walking and standing.
Visitors will park in the parking lot at Manatee Village Historical Park. The tour will begin in Manatee Village’s picnic pavilion at 6:45pm with participants walking over to the cemetery at 7pm.
If you would like to learn about the Burying Grounds, but do not wish to walk through the cemetery at dusk, Manatee Village will be presenting the tour material and photographs of the tombstones in the 1887 Church at 5:30pm on Thursday, October 24.
In the event of rain, tour material will be presented in the 1887 Church. Refunds will not be issued for weather-related instances.
Tickets are $20. They may be purchased on Sign-Up Genius or by calling Manatee Village staff at (941) 749-7165.
Manatee Village has sixteen sets of assisted listening devices available for use during the tour on a first come, first served basis.
This public program is offered by producers: Manatee County Angelina “Angel” Colonneso, Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, Department of Historical Resources and the Manatee County Historical Commission.