Oakland Cemetery was established in 1850 by the city of Atlanta after the city out grew its municipal cemetery. Oakland was originally just 6 aches of land, but with the growth of the city and the city looking for a place to lay to rest the 7,000 plus soldiers of the civil war, additional land was bought which brought the cemetery to it’s current 48 aches.
Before there were parks, cemeteries served as a place for people to gather. That is most earlier Cemeteries were designed in a botanical format. That form was applied to Oakland, that is why you see such beautiful head stones and mausoleums. Oakland cemetery is still used today for such events as weddings.
Oakland Cemetery was designed to reflect the culture and racial separation of it time. There is a white only section, a colored section, a section dedicated the confederate soldiers who fought in the civil war. There is also an area of about 5.7 acres of unmarked graves where the indigents of the city were buried. Interesting enough there are 3 african americans buried in the whites only section. Two being servants of their wealthy owners, who had to get permission form the city to be allowed to be buried along with the family and the 3rd being Maynard Jackson the city’s 1st black mayor.
There are ruffly about 70,000 graves in Oakland Cemetery, with about 15 more added each year.
Barth, Gunther. City People: The Rise of Modern City Culture in the Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980
Class Lecture Dr. Young