Old Cahawba to host cemetery tour Saturday

Published 10:35 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

Old Cahawba Archaeological Park will have its first tour of the new year on Saturday, Feb. 3 from 10-11 am.

The park, part of the Alabama Historic Commission, hosts monthly tours of its historic cemeteries. The only two months where the park doesn’t host tours are January and July, when it is too cold or too hot.

Being part of the historic commission, Old Cahawba prides itself on its ability to tell history in an unorthodox way.

One of these distinctive styles is the different types of tours they give. Sometimes they are walking tours, others require bicycles and a few tours involve tractor rides.

The tour for February will be a walking tour covering the vast history of the cemeteries.

According to associate site director Jonathan Matthews, there are few structures at the archaeological park, but plenty of “eternal residents” with stories to tell.

Some of the residents have been buried for well over a century, as the “newest” of the cemeteries was created in 1851.

“People who take the tour can expect to learn about many of our eternal residents, such as Augustus Jackson or John Bell, famous for ‘the Bell Shootout,’” Matthews said.

Cahawba has been around since Alabama’s beginning, serving as the state’s first permanent capital from 1819 to 1826 before moving to Tuscaloosa and ultimately to Montgomery. Along the way, the “W” in Cahawba was dropped, causing confusion over its spelling for decades to come.

Many of the stories on the tour focus on the mid-1800s, which Matthews calls the “heyday of Cahawba.”

Tours for the Old Cahawba Archeological Park cost $8 per person and participants can expect for the tour to take 45 minutes to an hour. Wearing appropriate walking shoes is recommended.

The park’s visitor center is located at 9518 Cahaba Road in Orville.

For more information regarding Old Cahawba, visit their Facebook at “Old Cahawba.”