Walking tours conclude Saturday at cemetery

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Atmore resident Joan Hackman, right, led last week’s walking tour of historic homes.

Walking on graves is frowned upon, but getting a history lesson at a gravesite by way of a walking tour is something the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce is pushing this Saturday.

The Chamber will hold its final walking tour for the month of April with a tour of an old Atmore cemetery to give insight about the people that have been buried there.

Guests will walk from Heritage Park to Williams Station Cemetery..

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The tour starts at 10 a.m. and is different than the normal tour that the Chamber takes on its final weekend of tours, Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheryl Vickery said.

“We are doing something a little different than we normally do,” she said. “Usually, we go on a downtown walking tour, but we decided to do a cemetery tour at the old Methodist Church cemetery that’s known as Williams Station Cemetery.”

During the tour guests will be treated to information surrounding the people buried at the cemetery along with other facts surrounding the gravesite.

The leader of this week’s tour has put in a lot of time and effort to gather information that will help drive the session, Vickery said.

“Nancy Karrick will be the host this week and we have done research on the people that are buried there,” she said. “We are going to go from one grave to another and speak about the person that is buried in that plot. We don’t have a lot of information on some of these people, which is disappointing, but we will present a lot of good history on the ones we do know.”

Aside from the people, markings on each tombstone will be spoken about because of the meanings they hold.

The explanations of what each symbol means is sure to keep those on the tour intrigued, Vickery said.

“Another thing that we will look at is the symbols on the tombstones,” she said. “You might see a finger pointing upwards or even a lamb, but we will explain what each symbol means. It’s really interesting how a finger pointing up or what a handshake mean.”
One specific grave the tour will look at is an unknown tomb that is surrounded by a fence.

The grave’s fence has an interesting story of its own and helps identify the timeframe when the person inside the grave died, Vickery said.

“There is also a fence there that is a Springfield Architectural Ironwork, which was from that company in Ohio,” she said. “We will give a story about the company and when they started. We know the grave has been there since the 1890s because of the fence since it doesn’t have a name on it.”

With this new tour lined up, the Chamber is hoping to draw in a larger crowd that wants to know more about Atmore’s history.

Looking at this tour more and more made Vickery want to make it happen, she said.

“We have had the same tours before,” she said. “There are enough houses and churches that we can visit, but we wanted to something different and interesting. The more research I did on this, it just seemed really cool.”

For more information about the tour contact the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce at 368-3305.