By MARGAUX HENQUINET
Columbia Cemetery, established in 1820, holds grave markers bearing some of the biggest names in town, including members of the Stephens, Rollins and Jesse families. From tall, ornate monuments to smaller, more time-worn stones, the cemetery is full of markers of history. In 2007, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the register’s website.
But the cemetery is more than just a place to go for an informal history lesson. Despite being surrounded by busy streets, the cemetery itself is a beautiful, peaceful place to enjoy the spring weather.
“It’s like a little bit of the countryside in the middle of town,” said Superintendent Tanja Patton.
With the coming change of the seasons, Patton has been working to pick up branches left by storms and artificial flowers blown loose by the wind.
“It’s time now to do the spring cleaning,” she said.
Soon, Patton will begin work in the cemetery’s gardens. She will plant flowers — possibly starting with pansies, she said — and supplement perennial flower beds with annual blossoms.
Patton said she likes having people come in to visit the cemetery, located at 30 E. Broadway.
Tucked away from the road and marked by two columns and simple signage on Broadway between Garth Avenue and Providence Road, the cemetery might be easy to miss, but not hard to find if you’re looking for it.
Visitors are welcome to walk or drive into the cemetery, which is open from dawn to dusk.