Historic Oakland Foundation – Preserving History Since 1976
Located on Oakland Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia, Oakland Cemetery is a classic example of a 19th century Victorian ‘rural garden’ cemetery movement that started at the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Massachusetts. The cemetery, founded in 1850, features winding paths, large shade trees, flowers, shrubs, and appealing vistas, and was designed to be a pleasant way for families to visit loved ones in a park setting. It continues to be used as a park to this day and is a valued green space in Atlanta. The cemetery grounds, gravesites, and buildings are restored and maintained by Historic Oakland Foundation.
Maintenance of the Oakland Cemetery originally was the responsibility of the families buried there. As time passed, fewer families were close enough (distance and familial) to care for the grounds, headstones, and mausoleums. The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places in April, 1976 and has been maintained by the Historic Oakland Foundation since shortly thereafter.
Visiting the Historic Oakland Cemetery
Approximately 70,000 people are interred at Oakland Cemetery. Notable burials include 27 former Atlanta mayors, six former Georgia governors, famous golfer, Bobby Jones, and Margaret Mitchell Marsh, author of Gone with the Wind.
Fans of art and architecture will enjoy a visit to Oakland Cemetery. Thanks to the work of the Historic Oakland Foundation, there are many examples in the Victorian, Greek Revival, Gothic, Neo-classical, Egyptian, and Exotic Revival styles to be enjoyed on the grounds. Visitors can expect to see mausoleums featuring stained glass windows from Tiffany Studios as well as bronze urns towering more than six feet that were cast at Gorham Manufacturing Company, the first art foundry in the United States (1831).
The Historic Oakland Foundation supports its efforts through donations and events. Some of them are costumed affairs. The highlights of these events are the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours and Sunday in the Park. The Halloween tour features costumed docents relating the stories of Atlanta’s sons and daughters as visitors wander through the gently lit Victorian gardens. Sunday in the Park is their annual fall festival featuring living history demonstrations. Other walking tours of the grounds are planned throughout the year.
Restoring and maintaining the cemetery is an ongoing project for the Historic Oakland Foundation. This summer the Greenhouse project brings a working greenhouse back to the property. The donated greenhouse fits perfectly in the footprint of their historic greenhouse walls, which are being preserved in a separate project. Other projects include preservation an interpretation of the landscape leading up to golfer Bobby Jones’ gravesite, and bringing more benches and trash bins to the park.
Whether you take in a self-guided tour, guided overview tour, special topic tour, or a private tour for schools and groups, you’ll find the right fit for your mood and needs; entertainment, education, and enlightenment. When you next visit Atlanta, take in the Oakland Cemetery, 248 Oakland Ave. S.E., less than a mile from the heart of the city. Find out more about the Oakland Historical Society and the Oakland Cemetery by visiting http://www.oaklandcemetery.com. Do you love historical trivia? Visit http://historyatlanta.com/oakland-cemetery/ to find answers to some very interesting ‘did you know’ questions!
Information and photos for this blog was gleaned from the Historic Oakland/Oakland Cemetery website: http://www.oaklandcemetery.com/
Additional information was found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakland_Cemetery_(Atlanta)