Oakland Cemetery - GA

2456_signature_OaklandCemetery-GA.jpg
Atlanta, GA
United States
Oakland Cemetery - GA

Landscape Information

Atlanta Graveyard, City Burial Place

In 1850 Atlanta representatives established the Atlanta Graveyard, or City Burial Ground, on six acres of rolling farmland on the city’s southeastern edge. The cemetery was expanded to 48 acres during the Civil War. Designed as a rural cemetery, its wide curvilinear drives and mature tree plantings are overlaid on a regular grid that subdivides the site. The gridded paths and roads are sunken below the level of the graves, separated from burial plots by brick or stone curbs and higher retaining walls in some areas. The northeast section has been left as open lawn and planted with ornamental trees, emphasizing the site’s natural rolling topography. From its inception, the cemetery functioned as a park for the city’s inhabitants, and was home to Atlanta’s first greenhouse in 1870. In 1872 it was renamed Oakland Cemetery to reflect the property’s plethora of mature oaks and magnolias. As the city’s only burial ground, virtually every Atlantan who died before 1884 (when the last plot was sold) was interred there. The cemetery is divided into sections based on race and religion, with approximately 70,000 gravesites marked by a diversity of monuments and mausolea reflecting varied burial traditions. Oakland fell into decline during the 20th century but in recent years its renewal has been overseen by the Historic Oakland Foundation, which purchased the property in 1976, the same year it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.