Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Historical marker tells of Mobile's second oldest municipal cemetery

'Magnolia Cemetery' historical marker in Mobile, Ala.
This week’s featured historical marker is the “MAGNOLIA CEMETERY” marker in Mobile County, Ala. This marker is located near the entrance to the cemetery, which is on Ann Street in Mobile, Ala.

This marker was erected by the Historic Mobile Preservation Society and Friends of Magnolia Cemetery in 2005. There’s text on both sides of the marker, but both sides are the same. What follows in the complete text from the marker:

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“MAGNOLIA CEMETERY: Municipal cemetery established 1836. Today Magnolia encompasses over fifty thousand burials in 120 acres, including two Alabama governors, seven congressmen, twenty mayors, six generals, rabbis, free blacks, society women, Apache Indians, writers and citizens from all walks of life. Significant sections include Jewish Rest (1844), Confederate Rest (1862), National Cemetery (1866) and plots belonging to fraternal organizations. Listed National Register of Historic Places in 1986.”

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I encountered this historical marker on Monday morning when my son and I visited Magnolia Cemetery to see its “Confederate Rest” and National Cemetery sections. While I’d actually never been inside this cemetery before Monday, I was in the vicinity once a few years ago while taking a historical walking tour that took me along an adjacent street.

Once inside on Monday, we encountered an informational sign that provided us with a lot of information about the cemetery. According to that sign, Magnolia Cemetery is Mobile’s second oldest municipal cemetery and noted that it’s currently maintained and operated by the City of Mobile and the Friends of Magnolia Cemetery, a group that was formed in 1987.

One thing that we noticed right away is that more than a few sites within this large cemetery are marked with black, numbered signs. I suspect that these markers are part of a self-guided tour of the cemetery much like the self-guided tour I took of the Camden Cemetery in Wilcox County. I searched for more information about the Magnolia Cemetery self-guided tour, but didn’t find anything about it online. If I can find out more about it, I may place that tour on my “bucket list” next year.

Even though we weren’t armed with a tour brochure, we did check out some of these marked sites and most of them indicated prominent figures who were buried at the location. Some of these famous figures include former Alabama governor Arthur Pendleton Bagby, Confederate general Braxton Bragg, former Alabama governor John Gayle and former Mobile Press-Register editor Thomas Cooper de Leon.

For more information about Magnolia Cemetery, visit its Web site at or call the cemetery office at 251-432-8672. You can visit the office in person Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The cemetery’s gates are closed and locked every day at 5:30 p.m.

In the end, visit this site next Wednesday to learn about another historical marker. I’m also taking suggestions from the reading audience, so if you know of an interesting historical marker that you’d like me to feature, let me know in the comments section below. 

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