History Brought to Life at Edgewood Historic Cemetery Tour

POTTSTOWN, PA – Several interesting – and even famous – women of Pottstown were portrayed in a living history tour at Edgewood Historic Cemetery, 989 E. High Street, Pottstown, on Saturday, May 18, to the delight of 41 visitors who attended during one of three afternoon time slots.

This event, the second such excursion featuring costumed reenactors, was planned by Kelly Fenstermacher of Pottstown as a fundraiser to help support maintenance expenses for the cemetery, which was abandoned by its caretaker organization in 2012.  Fenstermacher was pleased to note that 50 percent of the “Women of Edgewood” tour were newcomers, while the other guests returned after attending the original and sold-out “Walk to Remember” held last fall. 

“It was a pleasure seeing so many enthusiastic participants and sharing the remarkable stories of the women who shaped our community,” Fenstermacher said, adding that the reenactors, guides, and other volunteers “worked tirelessly to bring history to life in an engaging way.” 

She asks participants to fill out an online form providing feedback and suggestions for future events or email her at kelly@historicedgewood.com.

Historic headliners included Anna Maria Schoener (1753-1813), portrayed by the talented Stacey Michaud, the Education Director and an acting instructor and dialect coach at Steel River Playhouse.  Schoener’s life included three marriages — one of which to a man hung for treason for quartering British soldiers during the Revolutionary War.   Schoener also owned and managed several businesses. 

Katherine Keim Sheppard (1891-1960) was reenacted by Jacqueline Steinman, Administrative Coordinator for Hobart’s Run.  As a schoolteacher in the early 1900s, Sheppard had to adhere to a range of restrictions, from wearing a minimum of two petticoats to eschewing visits to ice cream parlors. 

Dr. Alice Keim Sheppard (1898-1972), Katherine’s sister and Pottstown’s first woman doctor, was brought to life by Tammy Vontor, Office Manager for Married 2 Electric.  During Dr. Sheppard’s long service, she delivered more than 2,000 babies among other achievements that earned a Look Magazine feature.  

Wayne Fenstermacher and Daniel Price assisted Kelly as tour guides and provided historical insights along the way about other prominent Pottstown townspeople buried on Edgewood’s 12 acres.

The Hill School provided costume pieces as well as chairs for the tourgoers.  Post-tour refreshments were prepared by Sodexo, Hill’s dining services supplier.

History buffs and Pottstown trivia enthusiasts – as well as those planning a Halloween-season outing – will want to reserve Sat., October 19, as the next tour, “The Infamous of Edgewood,” already is being planned by Fenstermacher and volunteers.   For additional information or to get involved with Edgewood efforts, contact Fenstermacher at 610-506-7033 or kelly@historicedgewood.com

Tax-deductible contributions toward the Cemetery’s $20,000 mowing season fees are always welcomed.  Checks may be made out to Edgewood Historic Cemetery and mailed to 740 E. High Street or donations may be made at https://givebutter.com/edgewood-historic-cemetery. A community cleanup is being planned for Sat., October 5, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., to prepare the grounds for the tour and the winter to come.  All are welcome to pitch in for what has proven to be a fun collaboration.

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