State flower has deep roots in town

Published 3:13 pm Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Alabama’s state flower has deep roots in Greenville. A historic marker unveiled this morning at the State Capitol celebrates the 50th anniversary of Bama’s bona fide bloom.

Gov. John Patterson signed legislation changing the state flower from the goldenrod to the camellia in 1959. The shift in designation represented the blossoming efforts of many right here in the Camellia City.

The legislation was introduced by State Rep. Lamont Glass at the encouragement of J. Glenn Stanley, former owner/editor of The Greenville Advocate and a member of the Alabama Press Association’s Newspaper Hall of Honor.

Once Stanley’s precious petals had procured their place in state law, members of the Greenville Men’s Camellia Society took the flowers to Montgomery and planted them at the Governor’s Mansion.

Celebration of the camellia will continue later this month with a special program at the Henry-Beeland-Stanley House on East Commerce Street.

The event, organized by the Butler County Historical and Genealogical Society, will be held Sunday, Jan. 25 at 2 p.m. and also highlights Greenville’s 71st year as the Camellia City.

The celebration will include a tribute to local camellia growers and Butler County residents who contributed to the creation and enactment of the Camellia legislation.

The family ties of hostesses Mollie Utley and Jean Bauer are rich in history, much like the home itself. A floral display will be arranged including camellia blooms from guests and visitors.

For more information, call BCHGS President Barbara Middleton, 334-382-2639.