History comes alive at A Walk Through Time

October 13, 2017 chris
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Photo: Mike Beacham portrays Mike Foster, whose tale includes a sea monster in the Coosa River, during the 2016 A Walk Through Time event. (Messenger file photo)

By Sarrah Peters/News Editor

The 9th annual A Walk Through Time will take place on Sunday, October 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. in Forrest Cemetery located at 700 South 15th Street in Gadsden. In the event of rain, the walk will be postponed until October 29.
The historical walk features people dressed up as influential or memorable Gadsden residents from the past. The actors present the story of the character they are playing. There will be 69 historical characters portrayed, including 11 new portrayals. Gadsden’s A Walk Through Time is unique because of how many characters are portrayed by descendents of the historical figures. Eighteen descendents will be at this year’s event.
Some of the Gadsden historical figures featuring include John Herbert Meighan, a former Gadsden mayor; Retha Deal Wynot, the second female to serve in the Alabama legislature; John Flynn, a Confederate cannon maker; Hazel Brannon Smith, Gadsden’s Pulitzer Prize winner; Callie Craven, a Gadsden composer; and many more.
This year, A Walk Through Time is participating in the Alabama 200, a bicentennial celebration throughout the state. Alabama became a territory in 1817 and became the nation’s 22nd state in 1819.
To commemorate Alabama becoming a territory 200 years ago, four characters will be representing years in our county’s history for every 50 years since 1817. Matt Ford will represent 1817, when the state became a territory.
Joey Statum will represent 1867, the year after Etowah County was formed as Baine County. In 1868, the name Baine was changed to Etowah because carpetbaggers in the area disliked the commemmoration of a Confederate hero, even threatening to abolish the county.
Gay Utz will represent 1917, the year that the United States entered World War I. Etowah County had a large number of soldiers in the Rainbow Division, for which Rainbow City and Rainbow Drive are named.
Dr. Martha Lavender, president of Gadsden State Community College, will represent 1967, the year the GSCC nursing school began.
Parking for A Walk Through Time will be at the old Gadsden High School.Trolleys are available to transport attendees to and from the parking area.
For those that wish to attend the event, but have limited mobility, there are two options. The chapel’s stage will host six sessions featuring 29 portrayers, so attendees can come sit in the chapel and experience a portion of the event. Golf carts will also transport attendees to several spots within the cemetary. Maps of the portrayers and the golf cart stops will be provided.
Teachers are invited to have students attend. A quiz with questions related to the history featured in A Walk Through Time is available at www.forrestcemetery.com.
The event is free but donations are encouraged. All donations go to the Forrest Cemetery Foundation, which uses the money to preserve the historical cemetery.
For more information about A Walk Through Time, visit www.forrestcemetery.com.