April 24, 2014


Margaret Mitchell (Author of Gone With the Wind), Morris and Emanuel Rich (Rich's Department  store), Governor Joseph E. Brown (Georgia's only four-term governor) and Julia Carlisle Withers (known as Atlanta's First Baby) are a few among the 70,000 souls laid to rest in the historic Oakland Cemetery.
The Divine Miss M, Luke and I paid a visit to this most beautiful green space in February. Spring was just beginning to make an appearance on this day and we wanted to tour Atlanta's oldest landmark.
Oakland was established in Atlanta in 1850. There was a need to lay 7,000 Confederate soldiers to rest so six acres of farmland were purchased to accommodate this need and many original interments were moved to the new Oakland. Oakland now covers 48 acres, which is only five blocks east of the State Capital. It is in the very midst of urban and commercial developments.
I find cemeteries fascinating and Oakland is full of history and stories to be told. There are gardens of beauty, notable architecture and symbolism. The City of Atlanta owns and is responsible for the roads, paths and public grounds. Two-thirds of the cemetery belong to private lot owners who are responsible for the maintenance of their lots. Due to the fact that some of these private lots are family owned and so aged, explains why some lots are in such a sad state of disrepair. There are no longer family members to care for the headstones or the overgrown brush. Oakland serves as a history museum, botanical garden and arboretum, Audubon wildlife sanctuary and active city park.

We began our tour here
"Tweet" The Mockingbird was one of several beloved family pets buried at Oakland.
The grave has a lamb for a headstone because the stone carver could not depict a mockingbird.

Luke placed a bright yellow flower on this old, old headstone to show that he visited

Part of the original six acres
Symbols were often used as a form of shorthand.
They represent a complex idea or form of emotion.
Symbolism was very popular during the Victorian era.

These were the largest Magnolia trees I had ever seen.....
magnificent against the skyline of Atlanta

Miss M and Luke touring the original six acres and observing all of these beautiful Magnolias

This was so ornate...they must have loved their mother a great deal

This is an entire family

The view of their family plot from the front

 Lovely Camellias

One of the many family Mausoleum's

Showing the way to the Marsh family.....Margaret Mitchell's final resting place
Margaret was born in the nearby Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta
and often rode her pony Nellie, through the grounds of Oakland

A visitor had placed a red heart box of Valentine's chocolate on their headstone

Another family.....

This part of the cemetery is unbelievably ornate and majestic

A baby boy....
of the 70,000 stories residing within Oakland,
50% of these belong to the children

Signs of Spring

This area is aged and very close to the Slave Square
Between 1852 and 1877, over 800 African-Americans were buried in part of the original six acres.
 In 1877 the Atlanta City Council ordered the bones and bodies of these people be removed and reburied in the "colored pauper grounds".
Their plots were then resold to whites.

The Bloomfield family plot honors four young sisters, ages 2,4,6 and 8, who died within a 10-day period in 1863 of Diphtheria. Ivy on the cross symbolizes fidelity and friendship, a rose garland represents love and beauty.

I placed this dried Hydrangea on this marker....it looked so lonely to me

The Confederate Memorial grounds. 16 Union soldiers are also buried here.
There are 3,000 soldiers who are unknown...their headstones are marked "Confederate Soldier"...
no name, no birth or death date

This is the Lion of Atlanta
He guards the unknown soldiers
He was erected in 1894 by the Atlanta Ladies of Memorial Assoc.
He depicts a lion mortally wounded by a broken spear,
clutching the Confederate flag.
He was patterned after the Lion of Lucerne in Switzerland

I was extremely interested in learning about the Jewish sections of Oakland. These parcels were purchased in 1878 by the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, The Temple which was primarily a German congregation. There is also an area of mainly Russian and Eastern European heritage and noted differences in land usage and symbolism. We ran into this man and his Golden Retriever who happened to work at Oakland and was kind enough to give us a most interesting history lesson.

A portion of the Jewish section.
They did not believe in flowers on the gravesites or any waste of land,
hence the monuments are very close to each other.

This was a good example of a very aged marker where the family has died.
There is no one left to maintain the family owned property.
Rather unnerving to see this.

This is the Austell Mausoleum, 1883 Gothic Revival
It was built by Alfred Austell, 1814-1881, who was a prominent banker and
founder of the Atlanta National Bank (now Wells Fargo).
It is the highest spot in Oakland and cost $16,000 for construction

Oakland holds special evens to support the Historic Oakland Foundation.
There are private group tours, special topic tours and special events.

 (celebrating the architecture, landscapes and significant buildings)
TUNES FROM THE TOMB (a weekend of music and spirits)


  1. I love exploring old cemeteries and this one is really beautiful. Thanks for sharing your tour with us. There is much to learn from the history on the grave markers.

    1. So glad you enjoyed this Pamela! It is such a fascinating cemetery! Rich in history and beauty! Maine had incredible cemeteries to visit and explore. I also think my little grandson learned a lot! Appreciate your visit today!

  2. I love old cemeteries and when I was in Atlanta with my hubby for a conference of his we visited Oakland. So much history tombed there! We ate at the Bluebird Cafe? across the street from the cemetery...delicious.

    1. How wonderful you had the opportunity to visit and your Oakland Ellen! Thank you for stopping by Estelle's today and sharing your story!

  3. I love old cemeteries too. I love the history and family stories. The cemeteries in Scotland were amazing!



I so love receiving your thoughts and comments. I also hope you found something that made you smile.