Hank Williams Burial Site

A pending bill before the Alabama Legislature would empower the capital city of Montgomery to take over ownership of the cemetery where legendary country music pioneer Hank Williams is buried.

The singer died in West Virginia on Jan. 1, 1953 at the age of 29. He is buried in Montgomery in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex, and his grave site — which features a marble replica of his cowboy hat, as well as gray and white marble monuments to both Williams and his wife Audrey — is one of the state’s top tourist attractions. In 2004 the owner of the cemetery passed away without leaving a plan for succession, and the state’s insurance department assumed responsibility.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says the city took over maintenance of the cemetery in 2009, after a picture of it looking overgrown drew unwanted media attention. “We as a city couldn’t allow it to be all overgrown when we have all those visitors,” he tells the Montgomery Advertiser.

Strange says the state promised to find a way to reimburse the city, and that’s why they have introduced the pending legislation, which would allow the city to formally assume ownership of the cemetery and provide $125,000 toward any associated costs. Strange says the site costs $5,000-$7,000 per year to maintain.

Rod Sisco
rodsisco@wqsb.com