The book Historic Hilltop Cemetery will be released to the public at a ceremony on Friday, Sept. 21, at 1 p.m. on the courthouse lawn in Hinton. The event will be hosted by the Summers County Historical Society.
The featured speaker at the ceremony will be Stan Bumgardner, editor of Goldenseal magazine. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Marshall University, a masters in history from WVU, and has previously worked on the West Virginia film project, was creative director for the West Virginia museum, and worked at the Harpers Ferry at the national park.
“Tombstone Tourism” is a growing leisure activity all over the country. It is hoped that the book will promote such activity in southern West Virginia, which is already a destination for many seeking adventure and authentic experiences. Visiting a cemetery is more than just gawking at graves – it is a lesson in art, poetry, history, and preservation.
Material for the 212 page paperback was prepared by Bobby Cox, volunteer caretaker of Hilltop and president of the non-profit Hilltop Cemetery Corporation. The book contains photos of many of the unusual tombstones at Hilltop as well as photos of some of Hinton’s founding fathers who are buried there. There are also more than 100 obituaries which give a great deal of historical information about businesses, church pastors, civic organizations and customs in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Explanations of tombstone symbols and engravings, as well as maps make the book interesting reading even for those who have no ancestors buried there.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony. Following the short presentation, books will be available for purchase for $30. In case of rain, the event will take place in the Memorial Building. After Friday, books will be available at the Railroad Museum on Temple Street in Hinton. Book proceeds will benefit Hilltop Cemetery. Mail orders requests should be sent to Hilltop Cemetery, 146 Cross Street, Hinton, WV 25951; add $5 for postage and handling.