Oakland CemeteryApprox. Time: 2 hours
Activity Level: Easy to Moderate

Oakland Cemetery is an 88-acre hilly area in the southeastern section of Atlanta which contains the city's oldest extant burial grounds. Among the 40,000 interred at Oakland are: the unmarked graves of paupers, Confederate and Union soldiers, a Jewish section, an African American section, 24 former Atlanta mayors, six former governors, prominent Atlantans including Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell Marsh and golf great Bobby Jones. The cemetery was established in 1850. A brick wall enclosing the cemetery with a pattern of brick pilasters, recessed panels and corbels was built in 1896. With 50 miles of brick streets and walkways, the grounds of the cemetery are an expression of the 19th-century landscape ideal of a cemetery-park and provide a luxuriant setting for its profusion of Victorian cemetery art.

The marble and granite gravestones throughout the cemetery range from simple, unadorned flat granite markers to grandly scaled obelisks and mausoleums. Both round and low-pitched arched stones with a variety of tympanum motifs dating from the mid-19th century are particularly prevalent. Markers in the shape of urns, occasionally displaying a common 18th-century motif of winged cherub or soul figure are used widely. Other notable and typically Victorian figure motifs found in the cemetery include a sleeping child or cherub in a shell, the weeping wife or mother bowed in grief with palm leaf or laurel wreath in hand, angel figures and the solemn classical figure who may be clinging to a cross. Widespread marker forms include anchors bound with rope, rough hewn rocks covered with ivy and lilies, tree trunks from which all limbs have been removed, crosses bedecked with flowers and portrait stones.

Text courtesy of The National Park Service. For more information on the Oakland Cemetery and the National Register Travel Itineraries. click here.