Hank Williams Trail Opens in Alabama
By Lynn Grisard Fullman
Visitors in search of Alabama native son Hank Williams Sr., will likely spend more time discovering the legend than he spent penning a song's lyrics.
Williams once said that if he couldn't complete a song's lyrics in 30 minutes, he'd just drop it.
With a newly unveiled Hank Williams Trail snaking through Alabama, visitors can learn more about the man whose hit songs still are recorded by today’s artists. Just download the new 20-page Hank Williams Trail brochure at www.hankwilliamstrail.com.
People from around the world come to Montgomery to see where Hank began his career and where he is buried, reports Lee Sentell, director of Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel, which produced the brochure.
Born in rural Alabama in 1923, Williams became country music's first superstar. He sold 10 million records between 1947 and 1953. Among his hits were: "Hey, Good Lookin'," "I Saw the Light," and "Cold, Cold Heart."
"His favorite place to eat -- Chris' Hot Dogs (334-265-6850) in Montgomery, AL -- looks much the same as it did in the 1940s when he scribbled lyrics on a napkin after long nights of performing," Sentell adds.
Where will you find memories or artifacts of Hank Williams Sr., in Alabama?
1. Mount Olive, where Williams was born;
2. Georgiana, site of Hank's Boyhood Home and Museum (334-376-2396 or www.handmuseum.com);
3. Greenville (800-959-0717 or 334-382-3251 or www.greenville-alabama.com) where a young Williams shined shoes, sold peanuts and later performed;
4. Andalusia (334-222-2030 or www.andalusiachamber.com), where Hank married Audrey Sheppard;
5. Kowaliga on Lake Martin (256-234-3461 or www.alexandercity.org), where Williams vacationed and wrote a song about a wooden Indian;
6. The Redmont Hotel (205-324-2101 or www.theredmont.com) in downtown Birmingham, where Hank and his driver embarked for his final performance;
7. Montgomery's (800-240-9452 or 334-261-1100 or www.visitingmontgomery.com) Municipal Auditorium, site of the singer's funeral;
8. Hank Williams Museum (334-262-3600 or www.thehankwilliamsmuseum.com) in downtown Montgomery displays clothing, hats, boots, records, paintings and the powder blue Cadillac convertible in which Williams died.
9. Oakwood Cemetery Annex (1307 Upper Wetumpka Rd., Montgomery), with graves of Hank and wife Audrey. People often leave flowers, especially around Williams’ birthday or New Year's Day. Others simply leave an unopened can of beer.
10. Hank Williams Events During the Year:
June 1-2: Hank Williams Festival at Williams' boyhood home (334-376-2396 ow www.hankmuseum.com) in Georgiana.
Sept. 15: Honoring the singer’s birthday, Hank Williams Museum hosts a celebration and wreath laying at his grave.
Jan. 1: Wreath is laid at Williams' grave. Music and refreshments follow at the nearby Hank Williams Museum.
A professional writer based in Birmingham, AL, Lynn Grisard Fullman has written six books, including Alabama This Weekend.
*Photos and art on this page are owned, copyrighted and used with permission of the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel. All rights reserved. Please do not link to nor copy these images. Thank you.