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8 things you might not know about the Historic Oakland Cemetery

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms visited Oakland Cemetery for rehabilitation of historic Bell Tower

ATLANTA — Oakland Cemetery serves as the final resting place for over 70,000 Georgians

The historic cemetery first opened its doors in 1850 when city officials purchased six acres of land for the young but fast-growing city of Atlanta, according to its website. Now, 171 years later, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is leading the ceremonial groundbreaking for the rehabilitation of the Oakland Cemetery Bell Tower. The event was held Tuesday.

City officials said the rehabilitation will begin in Dec. 2021. According to the City of Atlanta, the rehabilitation of the building will transform the tower into a "flexible event, exhibit, classroom, and meeting space that will be more accessible to the public."

This is only one of the several rehabilitations that Oakland Cemetery has gone through to maintain the history that lies within the 48 acres that is Atlanta’s oldest public park.  

Here are some interesting facts that you might not know about the Oakland Cemetery, according to its website and the City of Atlanta:

  1. The Oakland Cemetery was originally called the Atlanta Graveyard/City Burial Place before being officially renamed in 1872. 

  2. The first "Sunday in the Park" was hosted in celebration of Oakland’s 128th anniversary and the fall festival still continues today, 43 years later, celebrating the history of the cemetery and Atlanta at large.

  3. Oakland Cemetery is known as being the resting place of the city’s most notable figures. From authors to pioneers, here are a few of Oakland’s famous residents: 

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Gone With the Wind," Margaret Mitchell    
  • Maynard Jackson, the city's first African American mayor
  • Golf legend Bobby Jones
  • Founder of Morris Brown College, Bishop Wesley John Gaines 
  • Country Music Hall of Fame singer Kenny Rogers
  • At least six Georgia governors
  • 25 Atlanta mayors
  1. In 1976, Oakland Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  2. In 1990, the Bell Tower was completed by architect G.W. Smith.

  3. Oakland Cemetery became a City of Atlanta park in 1932.

  4. The Oakland Cemetery is open to the public and houses tours and holiday-specific events year-round. Visit their website for more information on upcoming tours and visitation hours.

  5. The cemetery continues to expand and welcomed its newest addition in 2020 when the East Gate was constructed at the corner of Memorial Drive and Boulevard. Oakland Cemetery has eight projects geared towards preservation, four of which have been completed.

    • East Gate Project - in progress
    • East Hill Project - project in progress
    • Women’s Comfort Station - completed in 2018
    • Jewish Hill Reparation - completed 
    • Greenhouse Project - completed in 2015 
    • Female Statuary Report - completed 
    • Bobby Jones Gateway - in progress
    • African American Grounds - in progress

The Oakland Cemetery is open to the public and houses tours and holiday-specific events year-round. Visit their website for more information on upcoming tours and visitation hours.





















































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