Sunday, October 15, 2012 was the annual Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll in historic Maple Hill Cemetery, located between the Twickenham and Blossomwood areas of Huntsville. Hundreds of people gathered at the cemetery to view the beautiful fall foliage and were greeted by local Huntsvillians dressed up as famous historical figures buried at Maple Hill. Mollie Teal, LeRoy Pope, Gov. Bibb and others could be found throughout the grounds, weaving their wonderful tales for the benefit of the Huntsville Pilgrimage Association. According to their website, the Huntsville Pilgrimage Association states that Maple Hill was “established in 1818 when the city of Huntsville purchased two acres of land from Leroy Pope. Maple Hill Cemetery now extends almost 100 acres and houses the graves of many historic and political figures. Located in the heart of downtown Huntsville, from Wells Avenue south to McClung Avenue, it includes more than 80,000 graves. More than 350 grave markers have been restored to date thanks to proceeds from the annual Pilgrimage Home Tour and the generous donations of community and school groups and individuals.” If the number of cars lining the downtown and Blossomwood neighborhood streets (even in the rain),was an indication of the success of the event, this year’s stroll may be the best one yet! Huntsville is full of so many areas like Maple Hill that are opened to the public that our citizens feel a kinship to the land, the trees and the history of Huntsville. I love to drive by this cemetery everday, as strange as that sounds, because it reminds me of my loved ones lost who are buried there beneath the spectacularly beautiful and majestic hundred year old trees in the valley of Monte Sano. Fall and Spring are the most beautiful seasons in Maple Hill. The pink and white dogwoods bloom in April and it really does make you realize that all that was seemingly dead will rise again, just like those wonderful trees.
The fact that Huntsvillians have found a way to preserve the history found in this grand old place and that Huntsvillians care enough about their area that they will brave a rainy day to join others in this Cemetery Stroll is a big reason that I am happy in Huntsville. The foliage doesn’t hurt, either… 🙂