Oakland Cemetery was founded in 1850, making it the oldest cemetery in Atlanta. The original six acres upon which the cemetery was constructed survived the burning of Atlanta in 1864, a tragic point in Atlanta's history, to which much of the rest of the city succumbed. It is therefore not only one of the oldest, but also one of the most historically significant plots of land in the capital of Georgia. It also happens to be one of its largest green spaces. The Atlanta Cemetery was renamed Oakland Cemetery in 1872 because of the great number of magnolia and oak trees. By this time, the original six acres had expanded to 48. Many people visit Oakland Cemetery to hear the stories of the some 70,000 people interred here, as well as to take tours and peruse the various monuments. Oakland Cemetery Atlanta tours are informative and given by experts who bring the legendary stories of those interred at the Oakland Cemetery to life.
When you visit Oakland Cemetery, you will notice that the acreage is divided up into different sections. For instance, the Confederate Section is an area dedicated to some 7,000 soldiers, nearly 3,000 of them unknown, who fought for the Confederate cause. There are also sixteen marked graves of Union soldiers laid alongside them. There are two great monuments in this section including the Confederate Obelisk and the Lion of the Confederacy. When you take Oakland Cemetery Atlanta tours, you will have the ability to learn all about the significance of the various monuments, statues, and graves that line the cemetery. This is definitely one of the best tour spots in Atlanta.
The Bell Tower section of Oakland Cemetery is perhaps the most popular with tourists who visit this destination. The plot of land where the Bell Tower now stands was once the location of the farmhouse of the future Mayor of Atlanta, James E. Williams. It later became something of a military garrison as General Hood directed Confederate troops during the Battle of Atlanta from this location. Other sections of the Oakland Cemetery include the New Jewish section, the Black section (a stark reminder of Jim Crow era segregation in the south), and Potter’s Field.
When you embark upon one of the Oakland Cemetery Atlanta tours, you will get an insider’s perspective on the various monuments and mausolea in the cemetery. One historical marker signifies the Great Locomotive Chase, in which a Confederate train was besieged by Union soldiers. There is also an impressive monument to the first mayor of Atlanta, Moses Formwalt. But the most fantastic of all the monuments in the Oakland Cemetery is the Austell Mausoleum, a Gothic shrine built by Alfred Austell, one of the founders of the Bank of Atlanta. When you visit Oakland Cemetery, you will be taking a step back into the very history that shaped the city of Atlanta.
Some of the notable individuals buried here include the golfer Bobby Jones, author of Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, and 25 former Atlanta mayors. Prices range around $10 for adults. Seniors and kids aged 6 to 17 get in for half-price and there are special discounts available for groups. Guided walking tours are available between March 20 and November 28. Guided twilight tours are the same price as daytime walking tours.