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The Historic Oakland Foundation Preserves Atlanta's History One Gravestone at a Time

By Elisha Neubauer

A classic example of a Victorian rural garden, the Historic Oakland Foundation's Oakland Cemetery is a wonder to behold. The Cemetery is an important asset to the area, being utilized today as a park for the community and a valued green space in Atlanta.

Founded in 1850, the Oakland Cemetery spans 48 acres and features gardens, wildlife, and sculptures. The space is currently the final resting place for over 70,000 individuals?including Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell, 27 Atlanta mayors, 6 former governors, several Civil War generals and soldiers, and thousands of unmarked graves. Also located within the rolling lawns of the Oakland Cemetery are impressive art and architecture from many periods, including Victorian, Greek Revival, Gothic, Neo-classical, Egyptian, and Exotic Revival. Soaring mausoleums featuring stained glass windows from Tiffany Studios and bronze urns over six feet high which were cast by Gorham Manufacturing Company in New York, the first art foundry in America, are still in excellent condition.

"Oakland Cemetery offers critical green space for recreation and serves as a cultural resource for lifelong learners who come to study history, art, architecture, archaeology, horticulture, photography and more," says Pamela Henman, Marketing and Public Relations Manager for the Historic Oakland Foundation.

In addition to being a fantastic place to view a wide range of art and architecture, the Cemetery is a great location to view local wildlife. The area has been deemed a National Wildlife Federation-certified wildlife habitat, North American Butterfly Association-certified butterfly garden, and an Advanced Bird Friendly Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

While the gardens have faced many trials and tribulations, they continue to thrive. With three part-time gardeners and a slew of volunteers, the garden plots have been looked after and nurtured to become historic mementoes of a time gone-by.

While they cannot be considered complete recreations of the original plots, which were often planted with sentimental plants and flowers, they are crafted to represent the correct styles of the period of the various lots in which they are located. There are over 1400 trees located on the property, including many native Oaks as well as the Victorian-preferred Crape Myrtle.

"It is a cultural resource for lifelong learners who come to study history, art, architecture, archaeology, horticulture, photography and more," says Henman. In order to keep the Oakland Cemetery in the best possible condition, the Historic Oakland Foundation has been working in partnership with the City of Atlanta. The dynamic duo is focused on preserving, restoring, and enhancing the space so that it can continue to be a momentous location in the heart of Atlanta.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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