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"Waking The Dead" tours return to Highland Cemetery

Participants will visit the gravesites of notable people from Great Falls' past
"Waking The Dead" at Highland Cemetery
"Waking The Dead" at Highland Cemetery (2019 photo)
"Waking The Dead" at Highland Cemetery (2019 photo)
Posted at 10:27 AM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 12:27:05-04

GREAT FALLS — Tickets for the annual "Waking The Dead" tours of Highland Cemetery (2010 33rd Avenue South) are now available. The tours will be on Sunday, June 27, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Tour hosts will be Megan Sanford, Kate McCourt, and Norma Ashby Smith.

Participants will visit the gravesites of notable people from Great Falls' past, with actors telling tales of of each one and sharing insights into the history of our community.

Riding tickets are $15 each, and walking tickets are $10 each, and are being sold at Kaufmans Menswear (411 Central Avenue) in downtown Great Falls.

Graves that will be featured and their storytellers are:

  • Paris Gibson, founder of Great Falls: Greg Kinder
  • Valeria Gibson, wife of Paris Gibson: Kari Woods
  • Fra Dana, artist: Paula Egan-Wright
  • George Montgomery, actor: Elliot Merja
  • Sam A. Stephenson, banker, rancher: John Stephenson-Love
  • Governor Edwin Norris: Dirk Larsen
  • Charles Russell, cowboy artist: Bill Bronson
  • Nancy Russell, Charles Russell’s wife: Carol Bronson
  • John & Mattie Castner, founders of Belt: Ken Robison and Taniya Reovan
  • Fred Jones, smokestack worker: Darren Smith
  • Capt. John Moran, Medal of Honor winner: Dwight Smith

Cars will park in the field inside the cemetery gate where the three trailers will be waiting to be loaded. Because tour seating is limited, tickets need to be bought in advance. People will be transported by three trailers pulled by trucks; people who prefer to walk will accompany the trailers.

People should arrive 15 minutes early to keep tours on schedule. At the conclusion of the tours, participants will receive a free booklet with photos and the featured grave stories provided by Croxford Funeral Home & Crematory. DVDs of the tour by will be available for a small fee. The date of the tours is scheduled on the Sunday afternoon closest to the birthday of Great Falls Founder Paris Gibson, which is July 1st. This year marks his 191st birthday.

The annual “Waking the Dead” tours are sponsored by the Paris Gibson Month Celebration Committee, in partnership with the Great Falls Park & Recreation Department. For more information, contact Norma Ashby Smith at 406-453-7078, or ashby7@charter.net.

Here is our report on the 2019 event: