Oakland Cemetery (http://www.oaklandcemetery.com/) is situated in downtown Atlanta – you can see it from Six Feet Under in Grant Park. It’s a garden cemetery, founded in 1850, and is the final resting place of many of Atlanta’s settlers, builders and most noted citizens, such as Bobby Jones (famous golfer), Margaret Mitchell (wrote Gone with the Wind) and Maynard Jackson (first African American elected mayor in a southern city). I found it interesting to walk through the massive headstones of families with names we see every day around town: Inman, Krog, etc.
As our tour guide walked us around the cemetery grounds, he told stories about some of the historically-notable permanent residents. The story I liked the most is that apparently when Obama was elected, the groundsmen found a number of newspapers placed across Maynard Jackson’s grave. Another one I liked (as pictured below), is that golfers place golf balls on Bobby Jones’ grave for good luck.
I expected to get a brief history lesson at Oakland, but I did not expect to see so much truly amazing architecture. Some of the mausoleums incorporated Tiffany glass! I was very surprised to find this architectural “oasis” overlooking a steel mill, local restaurants and downtown’s skyscrapers. Most of all, I was shocked at the number of people casually strolling, picnicking and going for a morning jog around the cemetery grounds.
Most of Oakland’s tours occur during the day, however, our guide told us that the cemetery offers an evening tour a week prior to Halloween. I think that sounds amazing!
Overall, I did not find Oakland Cemetery to be gloomy or mournful, but instead, a beautiful historical site worthy of an afternoon walk or picnic with out-of-towners or anyone interested in learning a bit about Atlanta’s rich history. It’s free to visit and a totally creative, recessonista outing! (Plus, it’s right next to some of my favorite eats: Agave (amazing margaritas), Six Feet Under (great shrimp and scallops cooked in parchment paper) and Ria’s Bluebird (delicious brunch)!