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“I Saw the Light....With Hank Williams”

Ranked #20 of 67 things to do in Montgomery
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Grave sites of Hank Williams, Sr., and his wife in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex.
Titus, Alabama, United States
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“I Saw the Light....With Hank Williams”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2013

I visited on Jan. 2, 2013. One day after the 60th anniversary of Hank's death. I went wanting to connect and learn about a man that passed 10 years before I was born, but have grown up with his songs and I was not disappointed. Hank Williams Sr who had a big influence on Country & Western music and may, in fact, be the most influential of all times, is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama. Hank’s gravesite was voted as a Top Must-See place in Alabama by the followers of It Happens in Alabama.

Following the release of I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive, at the young age of 29, Hank passed away, in the back seat of a baby blue Cadillac, somewhere between Bristol and Oak Hill, Tennessee on New Year’s Day, 1953, on his way to play a concert in Ohio. It was reported he died of heart failure, possibly brought on by his use of morphine and alcohol to ease his life long pain from scoliosis. Because of his back, Hank was physically unfit to serve in World War II, when his entire band “Drifting Cowboys” was drafted.

His funeral was held at the Montgomery Civic Center Auditorium with an estimated 25,000 people crowding around the building outside listening as Roy Acuff, Red Foley and Ernest Tubb sang at the service.

Hank was originally buried on January 4, 1953 in the main part of Oakwood Cemetery, but his body was moved to its current location on January 17, 1953 to a spot that would later be big enough to accommodate the burial of other family members. The move had to be made during the night because there were so many visitors to the gravesite.

The gravesite features two white and gray Georgia marble monuments. Hank's stands in front of a marble replica of his cowboy hat and is inscribed with many of his hit songs. On the back of Hank’s monument is a letter from Audrey, (ex-wife).

The other grave belongs to Hank's ex-wife, Audrey Sheppard Williams, who died on November 4, 1975. Aubrey was not originally buried next to Hank. In 1983, Hank Williams Jr. and Lycrecia Williams (Hank's stepdaughter), had Audrey's body exhumed and buried in it’s current location, next to Hank. The back of Audrey’s monument is inscribed with notes from Lycrecia and Hank Williams, Jr.

Hank’s mother Lillian is buried between Hank and his older sister, Irene who passed away in her sleep, March 23, 1995 at the age of 73. Irene served as the original 'Drifting Cowboys' first booking agent.

Fans and tourists from all over the world stop by the gravesite every year, and many people attend ceremonies that are regularly held on the official anniversary of Hank Williams' death January 1st, as well as on his birthday, September 17th.

Country singer and songwriter, Alan Jackson wrote a tribute to Hank, called Midnight in Montgomery, which tells a tale of a memorable visit to Hank's gravesite.
'Cause it's midnight in Montgomery
Just hear that whippoorwill
See the stars light up the purple sky
Feel that lonesome chill
When the wind it's right, you'll hear his songs
Smell whiskey in the air
Midnight in Montgomery
He's always singing there

Because of this song, many fans and locals visit the grave around midnight. It is not unusual for cemetery custodians to find beer cans and liquor bottles, both empty and full, by the gravesite in the morning.

I will make sure I stop by and pay him a visit again. It is very peaceful and beautifully maintained.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank ItHappensInAlabama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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97 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Arden, North Carolina, USA
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Stirring location”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 5, 2012

Easily accessible for buses as well. I had always wondered how Alan Jackson had gotten his bus in the cemetery. The tribute chiseled in stone is certainly fitting. Location is high on a hill in a huge cemetery but well marked from the highway.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Renee J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montevallo, Alabama
Level Contributor
125 reviews
109 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
“Impressive tombstones”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 13, 2012

First, i will say i am not a huge Hank Williams fan (his music is ok to me, just not great). But his gravesite is impressive. The cemetery is located less than a mile from the capitol, so it is nearby a lot of other attractions. There is no charge to enter. Drive towards to the back of the cemetery and you pretty much cant miss seeing it.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank autigerrealtor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Illinois
Level Contributor
405 reviews
131 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 526 helpful votes
“I saw the light!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 20, 2012

Any Hank Williams fan, if traveling thru Montgomery needs to stop and pay some respect to this legend. It's a nice cemetery and Hank and his wife Audrey's gravestie are at the top.A Hank Williams sign is at the cemetery entrance. You can't miss the huge stones. Funky indoor/outdoor carpet surround the graves. This was my second visit. If your in the area,come see some country music history.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank Aerowing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Savannah, Georgia
Level Contributor
50 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Beautiful memorial site”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2012 via mobile

Interesting to see. Beautiful site. Not too far down the road is MLK Jrs home. Look on the backs of the tombs also. They have inscriptions that will melt your heart. Great history. Great family.

Helpful?
1 Thank Janasulkowski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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