With crisp, cool breezes and the sound of leaves crunching under your feet, the Columbiana City Cemetery will be the place to be on October 29, 2016 for the first ever Historical Cemetery Walking Tour.
The tour is a fundraiser for the Shelby County Museum & Archives. As executive director for the museum, I envision the tour as a way to celebrate our history as a county. Many of the county’s most influential people are buried in the Columbiana City Cemetery since the city has long been a center of influence as the county seat.
Participants will enjoy a lantern-lit tour, with a guide that will take them to graves of people interred at the cemetery. Actors will then provide a glimpse into the life of the deceased. Expect to hear intriguing stories that are unique to the life of the person being depicted. Some of their stories you may find funny, and others you may find heart-wrenchingly sad.
Don’t expect any ghosts or goblins on this tour, though. The Historical Cemetery Walking Tour is not meant to frighten people, rather it is meant to share a bit of the past with the people of today.
An event like this is made possible with the help of the city and the community. The City of Columbiana has been part of the planning process since the beginning, and will be providing trolley transportation to the event.
A number of local actors will be featured in the tour, including Columbiana residents Bonnie Atchison, Bill and Beverly Justice, and their son Denisen Justice.
Students from Calera High School will also play a large “role” in the tour, with many of them acting or assisting with the event.
Calera High School drama teacher Alice LaGrone, along with Principal Joel Dixon, found a way to incorporate the tour into the curriculum for the 2016-2017 school year.
Involving students in the process provides a creative way for them to learn about the history of the county they live in. By taking on the role of a character, or helping in some other way, students have ownership in their history.
Due to limited parking at the cemetery, participants will need to park behind the Columbiana Senior Center located at 110 Mildred Street. From there they can ride the trolley to the cemetery. Treats and warm beverages will be provided at the Senior Center.
Tickets for the cemetery tour are $10 in advance and $15 at the event and can be purchased online here or in Columbiana at Busy Hands Gallery or the Shelby County Museum & Archives. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult.
Your ticket is required, so remember to bring it with you!
Where will I need to park for the event?
Parking is available at the Columbiana Senior Center located at 110 Mildred St. Columbiana, AL 35051
Why can’t I park at the cemetery?
Because there is limited parking at the cemetery, the starting point for the tour is the Columbiana Senior Center. A trolley (plus an additional small bus) will be on hand to transport you to the cemetery where you will disembark. Groups will then be led by a tour guide who will guide them through the event from start to finish. Once finished, you will be transported back to the senior center.
How many people are in each tour group?
For the best experience, we would like the tour group sizes to be no larger than twelve people. Tours will begin every ten minutes.
How long does the tour last?
The actual walking tour lasts about 50 minutes.
What do I do while I’m waiting my turn?
Prior to departing for the cemetery, you can enjoy refreshments inside the senior center. We will work diligently to get you to your destination in a timely manner, but feel free to enjoy snacks and socialize while you wait!
When does the latest tour begin?
The latest tour will begin at 9 p.m.
What can/can’t I bring to the event?
No pets or strollers permitted in the performance area at the cemetery. Dress appropriately for a cool fall evening stroll. Wear appropriate walking shoes for uneven ground. The event will go on rain or shine. Each tour guide will have a flashlight, but feel free to bring your own.
Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Call the Shelby County Museum & Archives at 205-669-3912 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or email firstname.lastname@example.org.