Magnolia Cemetery tour unveils Greenville’s past

Published 7:00 am Sunday, January 21, 2024

On Jan. 28 at 3:30 p.m., history enthusiasts in Greenville are in for a treat as Mollie Waters from Greenville Historic Cemetery Walking Tours leads a captivating exploration through the oldest part of Magnolia Cemetery on West Commerce Street. The group will gather in the Old Division, Square 1, embarking on a unique journey that promises not to be a repetition of the tour held on Dec. 10. 

Given the expanse of Magnolia Cemetery, the tour is the first in a series scheduled over the next few months. The tour is free and open to the public, lasting approximately one hour, with a reminder that rain will cancel the event.

“I started the tours in 2018 and was doing one a week,” Waters said. “And then the pandemic hit, and I didn’t do them anymore for a long time.” 

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The upcoming tour will focus on ‘the old section’ or square one, highlighting notable figures buried in that area. Waters emphasized that the tour is not specifically a history tour but covers many aspects of the cemetery.

“We also talk a lot about the symbols on graves and the architecture,” Waters said.

 

A teacher at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College (LBW) in Greenville, Waters’ passion for history and cemeteries led her to initiate these tours. She is currently working on a book about Alabama cemeteries and aims to feature one cemetery from each county in the state. Barbara Middleton, President of the Butler County Historical and Genealogical Society, attests to Waters’ expertise, having participated in several cemetery tours.

“She’s an instructor at LBW, and she really does a good job,” praised Middleton. “She usually picks out a few historical figures and talks about their contributions to the community.”

The time change to 3:30 p.m. accommodates those interested in attending the Butler County Historical and Genealogical Society’s annual Camellia show on the same day. As Greenville residents gear up for this insightful journey through Magnolia Cemetery, they anticipate uncovering hidden stories and gaining a deeper appreciation for the rich history embedded in their community.