MONROE, Conn. -- A group of community agencies is combining a fall walk over a short segment of the Paugussett Trail with a look back at the historical intrigue of Monroe’s East Village to create a one-of-a-kind event this weekend.
The Monroe Halloween Fall Foliage Creepy Cemetery Tour and Hike for Families will be held on Saturday from 9-11 a.m.
The event – co-sponsored by the Monroe Parks and Recreation Department, Monroe Historical Society, Monroe Conservation and Water Resources Commission and Monroe Land Trust and Tree Conservancy – is free and open to the public, including a portion of the tour that will require transportation by bus.
The tour, which will be held rain or shine, begins and ends at the Meeting House at the intersection of East Village Road and Barn Hill Road, where parking is available.
Participants will be asked to assemble there by 8:45 a.m.
The excursion that unfolds will focus 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 serving today as a repository for antiquities and heirlooms, including World War I uniforms and Indian arrowheads assembled by the Historical Society.
A bus will carry the group to the Paugussett trailhead on East Village Road for a fall hike over a short stretch of the trail, hopefully ablaze with fall colors, led by David Solek, Monroe’s park ranger and tree warden.
The tour will proceed across Barn Hill Road to the stone ruins and wheel pit of the hoop skirt and corset factory that Foster Cargill operated in the mid-1800s.
Commentary by cyberspace archaeologist Kevin Daly will be included.
Across the street are the contemporary versions of the 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.
The men are interred only feet apart.
A short bus ride will take the group to the East Village Cemetery, established in 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, along with his daughter, Mary, reputedly so obese that P.T. Barnum wanted to recruit her as the fat lady in his circus.
Vic Casaretti, the president of the Historical Society, and docent Nancy Zorena will 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, along with their own brushes with history.
Space on the tour is limited, so reservations are required. To sign up for the event, click here.