The mysterious “Turning Angel” monument in Natchez City Cemetery – Mississippi, to commemorate a local tragedy
It sounds a bit unusual to consider a cemetery a major must-see, but once you glimpse the beauty of the Natchez City Cemetery and to know the history of some of the characters buried there, it is easy understand why.
One of the most famous monuments is the so-called Turning Angel. This beautiful angel monument is overlooking five headstones, each with the same date of death.
The inscription at the bottom of the statue states, “Erected by the Natchez Drug Company to the memory of the unfortunate employees who lost their lives in the great disaster that destroyed its building on March 14, 1908.”
A piece of local history tells that on March 14 1908 a gas explosion in the basement of the Natchez Drug Company killed numerous people including five young female employees that were working at the time. The youngest was only 12 years old. The explosion was so massive that the prominent 5 story brick structure collapsed.
The victims’ tombstones are marked with only their last names. There is, however, an additional monument to the dead workers. Despite explosion put the drug company out of business, its owner was so devastated that he paid for the women’s burial plots and commissioned this stone angel to stand over their modest graves.
The angel has since attracted a fair bit of attention to the historic Mississippi cemetery. It’s now known as the “Turning Angel” statue because, according to some, it turns to look at cars driving by. This effect is said to be most noticeable at night, when the cars’ headlights shine on the statue around the bend of the road.
The turning effect, combined with the tragic story of the angel’s dedication, make this site loom large in Natchez. Local author Greg Iles even has a book titled Turning Angel, which was named for the statue itself.
But the is just one of the many stories of people buried at the Natchez City Cemetery. Another popular grave is that of little Florence Irene Ford. Her mother built a stairway down to her daughter’s coffin so she could comfort her during storms. There are also the tomb of Rufus E. Case, a large three-tiered structure that contains both his body and his favorite rocking chair, and that of a woman locally know as Louise the Unfortunate, but this is another story.
Photos from Web – Google Research