Meet the Guides
Garret Moffett –Is the creator and owner of Springfield Walks and brings 14 years of domestic and some international tour guide experience to the streets of Springfield. Originally from Macomb, Illinois Garret now makes Springfield his home. He is a descendant of southern aristocracy being the great nephew of the late T.B. Buckles, well known in the oil and logging industry in the south. Garret's extended family owns the antebellum plantation home D'Evereaux in Natchez, Mississippi. Garret's great grandfather was General George Martin of the CSA.
Garret earned an Associate Degree in Nursing, but always had an appreciation for history of all kinds. After college Garret spent time living in Tokyo, Japan with his college roommate's family and traveling the country, but he also continued his martial arts training at the world headquarters for Shotokan Karate.
After several years as a nurse Garret spent several months traveling Europe and eventually began escorting families and small groups through Britain and Europe on short trips. Returning to the states Garret left nursing and served as Vice-President of the Western Illinois Regional Museum in 2004 and served as the Chairman of the Historical Task Force under the guise of the Community Quality of Life Advisory Committee 2004-06. He has also written and contributed to numerous local history articles and publications.
In 2002, Garret created Macomb's first haunted history tour which received several local awards over five years. In 2005 Garret's Haunted History Walk took the top honor in the state out of 55 other communities vying for the prestigious "Main Street Award for Historical Development." But with the opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Garret's attention turned towards Springfield.
Garret was the first to offer this new form of tourism business in Springfield and Lincoln's Ghost Walk trial tours began in mid-August 2005.
Since then Garret has continued to develop walking tours in downtown Springfield with great success. The tours have been well received and supported by local businesses, local government, and the historic sites. Springfield Walks has received accolades in national and international press since its inception.
Garret has also published three books; Lincoln's Ghost: Legends & Lore(Author House 2009) Haunted Macomb(The History Press 2010) Haunted Springfield (The History Press 2011).
Garret also plays the character of Ward Hill Lamon for Springfield. Lamon was a close friend and law associate and Abraham Lincoln, He was a U.S. marshal and Lincoln's personal bodyguard, but was away on the nation's business that fateful theater night; a regret Lamon had to live with the rest of his life. During the summer History Comes Alive programs you can find Garret tending to Lincoln at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, escorting tour groups or walking the streets engaging with the tourists.
|Dana Quinn - Dana has lived in Springfield all his life and graduated from Lanphier High School in 1982 and is currently the proud father of three children. He has always had a love for science and history, but especially Civil War, Old West, and Titanic history. But he also loves his Star Trek! In the 90s Dana began a Star Trek fan base in Springfield and their club worked with the Children's Miracle Network street fair and other food drive charities. Dana is a trained scuba diver but an unfortunate injury forced him out of a career as a saturation diver. Working as a crane operator Dana later finally launched his own janitorial service.
As Dana grew up and ghosts tours and ghost shows on TV were on the rise to popularity Dana recalled experiencing paranormal events as a child and his interest in the paranormal had now resurfaced. In 1998 the Quinn family moved into an old house and began experience ghostly phenomenon and subsequently joined the Springfield Ghost Society. He's been a member for several years and is now a board member and a lead investigator for the group. He is also the founder of Nighthawk Paranormal Investigations.
In the fall of 2010 Garret Moffett hired Dana to provide assistance and security for the Haunted Dead Tour. Due to the large size of the groups the groups had to be split into two groups and Dana found himself in the role of tour guide. Dana has a knowledge of Springfield's ghostly history and his macabre presentation style has made Dana quite the popular tour guide with Springfield Walks.
"I think that the best part is the people on the tour, meeting them one on one. Though you give the same type of tour every night, the tour is different because of the energy the people give you. You never know who's going to show up and you never know how they're going to react to the paranormal events that occur on the tour. We have a lot of people that come back and retake the tour, some returned 3-4 times. I think that is GREAT !!!! It tells me that they enjoyed our tours enough to return for another taste of the unknown".
Dana leads the Haunted Dead Walks and been known to show up for work in his Cadillac hearse.
|Erica Smith - Erica is the newest addition to the Springfield Walks family leading the Lincoln's Ghost Walk. She has a BA in English from McKendree College, and an MA in English from the University of Westminster in London, England.
Erica, an experienced actress minored in theater during college and participates in community theater shows today. She has performed in several productions at Theater in the Park at New Salem. In 2009 she played the lead role of Sarah Bush Lincoln in the theater production of Heritage. Erica has also portrayed a variety of historical characters in ghost walks held at Calvary Cemetery and at Edwards Place.
Erica is a Springfield native recalled visiting the Lincoln sites as part of grade school field trips, but she never realized her interest in Lincoln history until she played the role of Sarah Bush Lincoln. Since then Erica has been fascinated by the Lincoln story.
"Feeling you are a part of history gives you an insight into the human side of iconic historical figures," she said. "I enjoy learning more about Lincoln as a regular guy - since I played Sarah, I've gained a whole new appreciation for Abraham Lincoln the son, husband, father, and lawyer, as well as Abraham Lincoln the President."
By day Erica works at St. John's Hospital in Public Relations, and in her free time enjoys reading, American history, travelling, flowers, running and writing.
Dennis Mastroddi - joined Springfield Walks in 2013. He studied Education A.A.S. Agri. Resources, Carl Sandburg, Jr. Galesburg, Ill. and earned his B.A. Sangamon State University, (U.I.S.) in Environmental Studies, Natural and Cultural Resources. Dennis's special interest was in Environmental Education.
Dennis been a professional tour guide, docent, and historical site interpreter for almost thirty years in Springfield. He spent six years working as a Park Ranger with the National Park Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and then twenty three years as a Site Interpreter with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, working at all the Historic Sites in Springfield, Ill. Over his career as an historic interpreter Dennis has researched, designed and presented tens of thousands of tours. In addition to his interpretive skills, Dennis has also facilitated programs, events, activities and ceremonies of all types at the Lincoln sites. Throughout his impressive career Dennis has served all walks of life from average visitors to world leaders and their entourages. Most of the tours Dennis has conducted however involved middle school students on field trips following their studies in Abraham Lincoln, state and national history, government and constitutions. Dennis has always had a deep appreciation of Abraham Lincoln and much of his personal research stems from Abraham Lincoln and his life and times, which is a history that encompasses a better part of the nineteenth century. Even after thirty years of conducting tours, Dennis states he is inspired when people on one of his tours is able to connect the dots which inspires them to create their own picture of Lincoln.
Dennis loves to connect with his audience and is always quick with some sort of historical quip. "Front line interpretation has always been my favorite, relating patterns of the past to the present can help predict a future."