What better way to spend a Halloween weekend than touring a cemetery. Every year for the past 15 years the Long Beach Historical Society has conducted a tour of Sunnyside Cemetery in Long Beach. While it may sound a bit macabre it is fun enough that we’ve gone back for our third year in a row. Sunnyside dates back officially to 1914 although the land was used as burial grounds prior to Norman Argetsinger purchasing the land from the City of Long Beach. Before that it was known as Signal Hill Cemetery. Ansel Adams took a famous picture of one of the statues, “Angel of Sorrows” back in 1939. This year we noticed a group of headstones of very young children who all died before the age of 5 during 1918 and 1919. When we asked what had happened back in those years we found out there was an influenza pandemic that claimed the lives of many children. More than just a stroll around the cemetery this annual event engages local actors who dress in period costumes and tell the stories of people buried there. The actors are wonderful and some of them get so into the character you almost believe it’s the person come back to tell their tale. I’ve always loved history and hearing about local places and families whose names you see on schools and street signs and parks is a great way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon. And who knows…maybe it really is the ghost of halloweens past that we’re chatting with.
The original gossip girl telling James Butterfield’s story
Think he was turning over in his grave as she told about his shenanigans.