2. Oakland Cemetery – Atlanta, Georgia
At Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery, you’re as likely to see a Gullah folk dance or a bit of theater as a tomb or an ornate monument. “We want people to come visit,” says Marcy Breffle, education manager at Oakland, one of Atlanta’s oldest historic sites. Scavenger hunts, music festivals, art shows, plant sales, tours, and even a 5K run lure the public to explore the lively necropolis throughout the year.
A virtual who’s who of artistic, social, and political elite rest side by side with unknown early citizens. Three popular residents include Pulitzer Prize-winning Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell; golfing great Bobby Jones, who helped found Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament; and Atlanta’s first Black mayor, Maynard Jackson.
The site was established in 1850 on the outskirts of the fast-growing railroad community, and early residents enjoyed the green space for leisure and picnics. “The Victorians had a tradition of visiting the cemetery and making it a place that was beautiful for the living and dead,” Sara says of the nationally registered landmark. Today, it’s a cornerstone of the residential Grant Park neighborhood, lined with Victorian homes and a 10-minute walk to downtown’s Georgia State Capitol.
Visit oaklandcemetery.com for hours and admission information.
Photography by John O’Hagan