Oakland Cemetery

Student groups on Atlanta holiday must be sure to visit this landmark Victorian-style garden cemetery and community park just a stone’s throw from the heart of the city – a 48-acre sanctuary of winding brick paths and pleasing cityscape vistas lush with magnolias, flowering shrubs and ancient oaks sheltering 19th century Atlanta’s interred, among them important builders and prestigious townsmen, industry leaders, Civil Rights pioneers and thousands of Civil War soldiers. Some rest beneath simple markers ravaged by the passage of time and inevitable neglect and others are memorialized with elaborate mausoleums and soaring statuary, many pieces bearing effusive inscriptions that bespeak an age when the bereaved found consolation in extravagant expression. Once through the stately brick entrance, impressive art and architecture can be seen in many styles: Victorian, Greek Revival, Gothic, Neo-classical, Egyptian and Exotic Revival; several mausoleums feature stained glass windows from Tiffany Studios and massive bronze urns cast at Gorham Manufacturing Company in New York, the first art foundry in America. A stroll through Oakland’s sections – including the Confederate Section, Potter’s Field, the Black Section and the cemetery’s original six acre public burial ground is at once delightful, fascinating and moving, rich with the strata of bygone eras, a history lesson at every turn, every monument, marker and sculpture a testament to times past and lives lived – and lost – etched in the eternal script of traditional observation. “The celebrated and humble rest together at Oakland. Tycoon and pauper, Christian and Jew, black and white, powerful and meek, soldier and civilian—all are here.”