We were pumped to team up with Johnson’s Nursery & Gardens, Forestvale Cemetery, and historian Ellen Baumler for some fun days in early October of pumpkin picking and hayride ghost story cemetery tours. After playing at Johnson’s Nursery & Gardens, folks loaded into our hayride wagon and took a ride down the road to Forestvale Cemetery, where we heard ghost stories, wandered the cemetery grounds, and learned more about its residents and history!
~ Thank you to John & Martha Kesler (and their dog Rooster) for serving as charioteers for our hayride trailer AND to Terry & Lisa of Johnson’s Nursery & Gardens for asking us to team up with you this year for the Halloween fun! ~
~ Thank you to Helena Civic Television for capturing footage and working in studio with Ellen Baumler to recreate the audio from the cemetery walks, along with additional visual resources to help bring the stories to life. ~
~ This tour guide, as well as other documents, can also be found on helenahistory.org ~
Johnson’s Nursery & Gardens is a small family farm dedicated to delivering fresh produce, plants, herbs, vegetable starts, on the farm honey, fresh jams, hay, and more. They also have an amazing “pick your own” pumpkin patch, bouncy house (for kids), fire pit and koi pond, and corn maze which they open up every Fall…replete with Halloween decorations and good cheer!
Founded in 1890 as the Helena Cemetery, Forestvale Cemetery occupies 150 acres (according to current tax records) in the Helena Valley. The name was changed to Forestvale in 1901. There are over 14,000 individuals buried at Forestvale, including many notable Montana pioneers. It is also the final resting place of motion picture star Myrna (Williams) Loy, a Helena native.
If you live in Helena or are a Montana history buff, you are probably familiar with the work of the amazing Ellen Baumler. An award-winning author, historian, and storyteller, Ellen served as the Montana Historical Society’s interpretive historian from 1992 until her retirement in 2018. Over the years, she has delighted and educated learners of all ages on Montana’s heritage and helped bring to light many of Helena’s most colorful stories through her historical sleuthing! She has penned numerous articles and books, including Montana Chillers: 13 True Tales of Ghosts and Hauntings for young readers, Dark Spaces—Montana’s Historic Penitentiary at Deer Lodge, and most recently Haunted Helena: Montana’s Queen City Ghosts. You can find Ellen in her Reeder’s Alley office “History Takes Time” or jaunting about town on one her famous historical tours.