Volunteers are what really make Ghost Walk go

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Author H.G. Wells would be proud of the Lawrence Countians who are banding together to create their own brand of time machine.

Nearly 75 volunteers from across the community are gearing up to bring the county's past to life Saturday at the Lawrence County Historical Society's second annual Ghost Walk in Woodland Cemetery.

Do not let the name fool you, the free event is more about history than ghosts. More than two dozen history buffs dressed in period costume will portray key figures from the county's past. Many other volunteers will help by taking pictures, working traffic control, providing information, selling programs and more.

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"Without the volunteers, we couldn't have this," said historical society member and co-organizer Debbie Rogers. "Like any other club, your volunteers make it work."

Historical society member Naomi Deer could not agree more that it is special people that bring the special history to life. All these individuals will be recognized on the program that will be available this weekend.

"We really are an historical community, very much so," she said. "I always liked to call it the crossroads of the United States. …We have a lot of people here involved in history and interested in it."

Ralph and Marci Peters got involved for different reasons. Ralph participated last year and enjoys the chance to portray one of his ancestors: author, chemist and inventor James Peters. For Marci, who will portray James' wife Antoinette, it was more about a personal love for history.

"It is important for people to see how Lawrence County came about and how important the people who founded it were," Ralph said. "Plus, I think it is pretty cool to portray one of my own family members."

Marci has volunteered with the historical society for the past year and hopes people will come out more for the history than for the ghostly overtones.

"I think this is really important. The historical society has everything about Lawrence County but it takes a lot to run it," she said. "I think it is real important for people to volunteer with them because they have so much to offer."

Martin Smith will portray Col. George N. Gray out of a love for history but

also a deep love for Ironton.

"Look at the Friends of Ironton and what they have done. If it wasn't for people interested in making this city go, we wouldn't have anything. We wouldn't have anything nice to look at," Smith said. "…People should appreciate those who go beyond their limits to try to do something."

More than 500 people are expected to attend this year's event that will be self-guided. It begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the cemetery on Lorain Street in Ironton. Visitors can buy a $2 program that includes a map of the featured areas of the cemetery, and may see any or all of the approximately two-hour event.