A Digital Journal

Photography by Tony Triolo

Glory in the Graves – Selma’s Historic Cemetery

Over the years I have visited many a gravesite and many a cemetery. Some were out of a sense of duty and honor while paying respects to a family member, colleague or dear friend who had departed this world for the next. Most of my visits to cemeteries come about, not as a result of someone’s passing, however, but rather due to the fact that I, like many, find most burial sites to be beautiful and calming places. I have visited cemeteries all over the world including the graves of our fallen soldiers at Normandy and throughout Europe. I have been to the grave of General George S. Patton when we lived in Luxembourg many times. It seemed as though every friend who came to visit us during those years wanted to see the final resting place of “Old Blood and Guts.” I have visited cemeteries of the rich and famous as well as those of just ordinary folks. Some gravesites have been old and historic, while others relatively new. Last year, I had the chance to walk among the tombs of the St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans. Owing to the fact that the city is prone to flooding, the dead are interred above ground in crypts and mausoleums. It is often called the “cities of the dead” as the site resembles rows of buildings, many in desperate need of repair.

Selma, AL cemetery

Old Live Oak Cemetery

This past week, I had the opportunity to visit an equally historic cemetery. It was in Selma, Alabama. It is called the Old Live Oak Cemetery and is actually two cemeteries (Live Oak Cemetery and Old Live Oak Cemetery) separated by a city street. When I planned out my visit to Selma, the cemetery was not on my initial list of places to see. I had not been to Selma in many years, but with renewed attention brought on by the recent motion picture depicting the city’s struggle for civil rights and voter equality, I decided to pay the city another visit. I wanted to see that historic Edmund Pettus Bridge and the civil rights museum. I planned to check out the Brown Chapel AME Church, the old train depot and even Old Cahawba. On Saturday, a photographer friend of mine from Helena joined me on a trip out to the Old Cahawba Archaeological Park. Old Cahawba is basically a ghost town located about twenty minutes southwest of Selma. It was Alabama’s first state capital. It was my friend who suggested that I include the old confederate cemetery on my itinerary. I was very glad that he did because it turned out to be one of the most unusual and beautiful cemeteries that I have visited to date. Many of Selma’s founding fathers are buried here including William Rufus King who would go on to become Vice President of the United States. Another, Benjamin Sterling Turner, was Alabama’s first African-American congressman. Old Live Oak Cemetery was so named after a Colonel N.H.R. Dawson arranged to have 80 live oaks and 80 magnolias planted on the property. While the oak trees are impressive, the most stunning aspect of the site is the canopy of cascading Spanish moss that hangs from the tree limbs. The moss seems to wrap the tombstones and burial plots up in a protective veil.

 

Old Live Oak Cemetery       110 Dallas Ave.    Selma, AL 36701

 

Here are a few photos from my recent visit.

Unknown Soldier Headstone

Grave of Unknown Soldier

 

Spanish Moss on Oak Trees

Spanish Moss on Oak Trees

 

Iron Gate Detail

Iron Gate Detail

 

Family Plot

Family Plot

 

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Wrought Iron Detail

 

Confederate Statue

Confederate Statue

 

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Tombstones and Oak Trees

 

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Granite Cross

 

Christmas Wreath on Crypt Door

Christmas Wreath on Crypt Door

February 12, 2016 Posted by | Photography | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment