Nestled between railroad yards, tattoo parlors, bars and Atlanta city life sits the Oakland Cemetery. Founded in 1850 by the City of Atlanta, it originally started as a 6-acre cemetery but with the growth of the city and the need to bury over 7,000 Civil War soldiers, the city soon expanded it to a 48-acre site.
It was a beautiful sunny day, barely a cloud in the skies and I decided to see something different and out of the norm. For me a cemetery fits that bill. Sitting only 5 blocks east of the state capitol, there is a huge amount of history here – some to be proud of and some not so much.
The cemetery is the burial ground for several Georgia governors, over twenty Atlanta mayors, and five Confederate generals. It also is the final resting ground for Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone With the Wind), and Robert “Bobby” Jones (greatest amateur golfer of all time and co-founder and co-designer of the Augusta National Golf Club).
Sadly, history also has us remember that segregation was alive and well in the south (and elsewhere). Known as “Slave Square”, there was a segregated area for African Americans from the time the cemetery was created right up until 1963 when segregation became illegal on public facilities. Until 1963 African Americans could only purchase burial plots in that particular area.
This beautiful cemetery/park/museum/botanical garden is run by the City of Atlanta in conjunction with the Historic Oakland Foundation. There is a ton of history and beauty here; one just needs a nice day and a little time to explore and enjoy.