Saturday, June 26, 2010

Oakland Cemetery

My children tell me I'm weird. There are a million reasons they like to tell me that, but one of the main ones is that I like to walk through old, beautiful cemeteries. The restful solitude speaks to me (maybe to all busy people), and I love the architectural elements in a cemetery. Also, I feel connected to the past in a real and earthy way (no pun intended) when strolling through these park like settings. In the late 19th century it became fashionable to plan cemeteries that resemble parks, and the living families would frequently visit these beautiful resting places for the dead.

The land for Oakland Cemetery was purchased by Atlanta city fathers in 1850 - it started with six acres. By 1872 it had expanded to 48 acres, its present size. My mother brought us here when we were children and she was working on a project with the Georgia State Archaeology department. Ever since then I have loved coming here.

On Memorial Day this year I had the idea to take my children to visit Oakland Cemetery to see the markers of the Confederate dead. So we lathered on sunblock and headed downtown. Stroll with us through Oakland....

Italian Cypress, or "pencil trees"

The Atlanta Lion, marking the unknown Confederate dead.

Markers for the Confederate dead

Door on the Thornton/ Kennedy Mausoleum

For more information and tour times, please visit the Oakland Cemetery website.

All photos via Whitehaven


  1. Oakland and the other old Atlanta cemeteries do take you out of the now. And it works every time. Eating on the roof of Six Feet Under overlooking Oakleand is an experience in itself.

  2. One of my new architectural renderings is a palmette frieze that was modeled after one in the Oakland Cemetery. I am so glad to see this post, I need to visit it for myself.

  3. Helen, you're totally right about visiting cemeteries for the peace and solitude, beauty and architecture. I, also, kind them enchanting but haven't had a visit in a year or so. I'm going as soon as the rain clears away!!!! Thanks for the reminder of these landscape treasures.

  4. Thanks for giving a shout out about Oakland!! I have had the honor of volunteering there for the past few years and I fall in love with the place everytime I go. I have a tour at 4pm today so the love affair continues!! By the way, we also call the Kennedy / Thornton Mausoleum the Austell Mausoleum because the of the head dead guy inside. Giggles,it is our most expensive mausoleum. Mr Austell was a banker.