Two years ago, Detroit Lakes Tribune columnist, published author and occasional thespian Lynn Hummel portrayed the iconic historic figure E.G. Holmes in the first-ever Stories & Stones Cemetery Walk at Oak Grove Cemetery, hosted by the Becker County Museum.
In his portrayal of Holmes, Hummel recounted one of the more scandalous moments in county history: The day Holmes shot longtime business and political rival Mike McCarthy in the head during a curbside altercation in downtown Detroit Lakes.
This Tuesday, Sept. 10, local residents will have an opportunity to hear the other side of that story, as McCarthy is one of 16 historic figures buried at Holy Rosary Catholic Cemetery who will be profiled in the third annual Stories & Stones event, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m.
"The role of Mike McCarthy will also be portrayed by Lynn Hummel," said Becker County Museum Director Becky Mitchell.
In another ironic twist, Holmes actually donated the land upon which the Holy Rosary Cemetery now sits, even though he was not a member of the church and is buried at Oak Grove.
"He donated the land for a lot of things in Detroit Lakes," Mitchell said, noting that he was one of the community's earliest real estate moguls as well as being responsible for starting up a variety of local business enterprises, both solo and in partnership with others. McCarthy was an equally prominent figure at that time, and their feud grew quite heated, culminating in the shooting incident, which McCarthy survived, as his metal hat brim deflected the bullet from Holmes's gun and prevented it from entering his brain.
How did that feud turn out? "You'll have to come to the cemetery walk to find out," Mitchell teased.
Other returning Stories & Stones actors include Cecil Ballard, Rick Johnson, Mary Lewis, John and Connie Wood, and Mary Sundby, who for the first time, is bringing along her daughter Lily to portray one of the roles in this Tuesday's cemetery walk event.
Other Stories & Stones newcomers will include Ron Sprafka Sr., Kathy Coyle, Mary Haney, Marcia Potvin, Angie Tjaden and Dave Karsnia.
Though the museum has opted to keep the characters these actors are portraying a surprise, they include not only some of the early pioneer settlers of Detroit Lakes and the surrounding area, but also those who founded local businesses still in existence today, as well as many whose descendants have called Detroit Lakes home for generations.
"We have stories of family legacies ... businessmen, judges, independent women, and everyday people who shaped this community into what it is now," said Emily Buermann, the museum's programming director.
While some might think a cemetery walk has scary or spooky elements, Mitchell says the Stories & Stones events are "very family-friendly," and focused on the real-life people who have played a role in shaping local history.
"It all takes place during daylight hours, so there's nothing 'spooky' happening," Buermann said.
All 16-plus actors will be available throughout the two-hour event, standing or seated near the grave site where the character they are portraying is buried. All will be in costumes appropriate to the era in which their characters lived, and some will be bringing along some props to aid in the telling of their tale.
"There's no set order or route," said Mitchell, noting that once visitors have paid their admission at the gate, they can go at their own pace — though if they want to visit each of the grave sites and hear the actors' stories, they should arrive no later than 7 p.m., she added, as lighting conditions will be too dark to extend the event beyond 8 p.m.
If you go
What: Stories & Stones Cemetery Walk
Where: Holy Rosary Cemetery, Rossman Avenue, Detroit Lakes
When: Tuesday, Sept. 10, 6-8 p.m.
Cost: Members will be admitted for $5, nonmembers for $7, though all school-age kids and younger are welcome to accompany their parents free of charge.