The Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll takes place once a year – typically the first Sunday in May. This past May, the stroll was rained out, which made me so very sad because I had really been looking forward to going. A few months ago, Erika and I went on a downtown walking tour (can you tell I like learning about the history of my city?) and I overheard that the cemetery stroll had been rescheduled for October 18! I was so overjoyed I thought I was going to cry! Not only had they rescheduled it, but they had rescheduled it for the fall of the year – the weather would be cool! How wonderful is that?
Maple Hill is one of the oldest cemeteries in the state of Alabama. It was founded in 1822 on just two acres, but now encompasses nearly 100 acres. It is a very fascinating and beautiful place. I would venture to say that it is one of the prettiest cemeteries I have ever come across. Maple Hill is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is the final resting place of five Alabama governors, five United States Senators, 10 members of the United States Congress, six Confederate leaders, and many other notable figures. If you are interested in reading about some of the people buried in Maple Hill and a little more on the history of the place, check out my trusted source, Wikipedia. Here’s the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_Hill_Cemetery_(Huntsville,_Alabama)
You may be asking what exactly a cemetery stroll is, and that’s why Nat is here, people! The cemetery stroll is where history comes alive! Costumed people dress up in period clothing and share the stories of the person they are portraying. Some of them are famous and some of them are not, but they all have an interesting story to tell. It’s fun to hear what these people did while they were alive and also to find out how they died. Have you ever looked at a tombstone of someone you didn’t know and wondered what they might have been like or how they died? Well, at the cemetery stroll, you can find out. There are about 65 or so people that dress in character and tell about the life of the person they are portraying. There is also usually a band or two playing period music to “liven the mood.” Pun intended.
The cemetery stroll is definitely an interesting and worthwhile adventure. The best part is that admission is free. Donations are welcome, of course, and any money received goes towards restoring old headstones and monuments in the cemetery, which is a great cause – that way many more generations can enjoy the beauty and history of the Maple Hill Cemetery.
The cemetery stroll is organized and conducted by the Huntsville Pilgrimage Association. For more information, check out their site at: http://www.huntsvillepilgrimage.org/
This lady is Virginia A. Betts (1836-1892) she is the grandmother of JAG Edward C. Betts who organized the Nuremburg War Trails in World War II (which are a very long and interesting read by the way).
These are some of the portraits Howard Weeden drew.
She drew this picture of a slave. So beautiful.
I don’t remember who this guy was. This was towards the end of the day and I just took his picture because he looked funny in that uniform.
Here’s Lt. Albert Russel, who was played by Chase Sharp, son of my friend Mark. Lt. Russel died of typhoid fever in Barancas, Florida during the Civil War.
Well, that’s it for the photo recap. We saw a few other graves, but since this is the longest post of all time, I’ll wrap things up there. Next year, if you have time, you should visit cemetery stroll. It is such a fun and interesting day!