An urban legend says that deep in the woods of Colbert County, Alabama, there is a hidden cemetery reserved only for registered coon dogs.
This is one urban legend that proves to be true, and it is the only cemetery of its kind in the entire world.
Only In Alabama
Established in 1937 when Key Underwood buried his beloved coon dog Troop at their hunting camp, the Key Underwood Coon Dog Graveyard is now the resting place to more than 200 certified coon dogs.
This tradition carries to this day, where burials in the historic hallowed site have to meet three requirements, according to CoonDogCemetery.com:
- The owner must claim their pet is an authentic coon dog.
- A witness must declare the deceased is a coon dog.
- A member of the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, Inc., must be allowed to view the coon hound and declare it as such.
If you are thinking of visiting this “only-in-Alabama” gem, there is no better time to do so than Labor Day.
A Way to Celebrate Labor Day
To celebrate the burial of Troop, the Coon Dog Cemetery Labor Day Celebration is held each year, and it welcomes people from far and wide as thousands visit this unique festival.
Held in the coon dog cemetery itself, the event is hosted by the Friends of the Coon Dog Cemetery and features food, vendors, live music and typically a liar’s contest.
The standout part of the festival though is the chance to visit the graves and see the devotion of their owners who took such pride in their coon dogs.
This year’s event will be held Monday, September 7 from 10 am to 4 pm.
It is free to attend, but any money raised or donated goes to support maintenance of the cemetery.
How to Get There
The address is 4945 Coon Dog Cemetery Road, Cherokee, AL 35616.
Be aware that some GPS systems may not work in this rural area, so here are the driving directions: Travel seven miles west of Tuscumbia on U.S. Highway 72. Turn left on Alabama Highway 247, and go for 12 miles. Turn right and follow the signs to the cemetery.
Wil Elrick hails from Guntersville, Alabama where at an early age he developed a love for both trivia and history. He has spent the last 20 odd years, fine tuning the art of communication while working in law enforcement, writing, television media, historical research, and public speaking. He lives in North Alabama with his two boys, and a neurotic German Shepherd Dog. He one day hopes that Bigfoot is proven real. Wil’s new book Alabama Scoundrels is available from History Press.