Artists in Action: A history lesson at Hillside Cemetery
by Hervey Folsom
Sep 23, 2012 | 3711 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On a hill overlooking downtown Anniston there are more than two centuries’ worth of notable names from Calhoun County’s earliest days, all at Hillside Cemetery. Anniston’s founders and other pioneers who resided here are buried in this land between 10th and 11th Streets, and their life stories of vision and leadership are remarkable.

The Public Library of Anniston and Calhoun County invites you to the library’s Ayers Room for a virtual walk-through of the cemetery at 3 p.m. Thursday. Hosted by Tom Mullins, Alabama Room librarian, the video and program will afford glimpses of headstones, tombstones and some epitaphs throughout the eight sections of the grounds.

Anniston as a planned industrial community — and the more modern town — was shaped by its citizens. Mullins will note leaders such as Harry M. Ayers, Duncan T. Parker, Dorothy Sterne, Susie Stringfellow, William H. Zinn and others. Most of the the stories behind the names are accounts of accomplishments; others touch on sadness and mystery. The oldest marker is that of Charles Gill McKleroy, a young boy who died in 1874. Other records concerning John Ward Noble indicate that a stagecoach accident in 1854 impacted his decision to locate the family’s foundry in Rome, Ga., as his selected site in the south. He later moved the furnace to what would become the Anniston area due to the area’s untapped ore and timber.

Even more intriguing is the murder case found on the pages of local history, which Mullins will cover.

Everyone is invited.

CAST’s remaining season

If you go this afternoon to “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” consider buying a season ticket. This musical, plus three other entertaining productions to be acted this season, are written by well-known writers.

“Funny Thing” was Stephen Sondheim’s — probably best known for his lyrics in “West Side Story — first success as a lyricist and composer, according to Internet sources. “Tragedy Tomorrow, Comedy Tonight,” the opening number in today’s musical, has been called Sondheim’s signature song. Today is the final performance for “Funny Thing.”

Jean Shepherd wrote a classic when he wrote about a little boy who wanted a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. “A Christmas Story,” based on two of Shepherd’ short stories, is CAST’s holiday production. Opening night is Nov. 23.

“Private Lives,” which opens Feb.7, was written in 1930 by British playwright Noel Coward. In it he made farcical entertainment out of a double marriage. Coward is “the perfect reflector of romantic conflicts between upper class men and women,” according to “A Treasury of Theatre” by John Gassner. Coward’s two other hallmark comedies are “Design for Living” (1932) and “Blithe Spirit” (1941). “Lives” opens Feb. 7, 2013.

The season’s finale is Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “Dream” is a favorite story, according to Carmen DiBiase, who teaches Shakespeare classes at Jacksonville State University.

“There are folkloric creatures that are charming,” he said, “and this play is very amusing for children.” For all ages, added Dr. DiBiase, there’s lots going on to view: there are comic characters, a misused love potion, fairies, family feuds and at least four love plots going on. It opens May 2, 2013.

Go to for more information or to purchase tickets.

Hervey Folsom is a longtime supporter of the arts in Calhoun County and has been writing for The Star since 1971. She can be contacted at
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