Oakland Cemetery Halloween Tours

Lion of Atlanta

The dead are not dead along the BeltLine. Less than a mile from the heart of downtown on the historic east side of Atlanta near Cabbagetown is Oakland Cemetery. Oakland is free to visit, but between October 18 and 27 you can have some fall fun and a spooky time by taking a guided Halloween tour of Oakland Cemetery. The tours begin at 5:30 pm, and ticket prices are $20 for adults; $10 for children 4-12 years of age; free for children under 3. At other times of the year Oakland’s gates are closed at dusk, so take advantage of these special tours and enjoy Oakland at night.

Named for the large live oak trees on the cemetery grounds, Oakland Cemetery was founded in 1850 and is Atlanta’s third largest green space. It is the final resting place of many of Atlanta’s settlers, builders, and most noted citizens like Bobby Jones, Margaret Mitchell, and Maynard Jackson. Of the 70, 000 graves at Oakland, nearly 7,000 of them are Confederate burials—soldiers who died in the Battle of Atlanta. African-Americans are buried in a separate section at Oakland, a testimony to the development of  the grounds before abolition.

For those who want to go on a picnic at Oakland, go to Potter’s Field. This is where paupers–those who could not afford to be buried on a private lot–were buried prior to 1900. The city of Atlanta financed these burials, yet there are no grave markers. Many of the 7,500 graves were marked with wooden epigraphs, yet official records indicate that little is known about who occupies each of these “unassigned” graves.

Anyone interested in genealogy can visit www.oaklandcemetery.com to begin the process of discovering if you’ve got relatives buried in the cemetery.

Just east of the cemetery is The Stacks, a residential loft conversion of the historic Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, and one of the largest of it’s kind in the country. The Mill was built after the Civil War, beginning operations in 1881. As a result, Cabbagetown was built as the mill village to house the mill’s workers. Cabbagetown is listed on the National Register of Historic places, and is one the first textile processing mills built in the South. Today, Cabbagetown is one of the BeltLine’s most charming and eclectic communities.

There are many theories as to how Cabbagetown got its name. One theory is that the Scots-Irish settlers who lived in the village grew cabbages in their yards, and the neighborhood smelled like boiling cabbage. Another is that a Ford Model-T spilled a truckload of cabbages along one of main intersections of the village. What we do know for sure is that those who lived outside of the neighborhood originally used the term Cabbagetown derisively.

There are many restaurants to visit nearby, several of which serve cabbage in various forms:

About J. Clayton L. Jones

J. Clayton L. Jones is a singer-songwriter, English professor, and freelance writer. He is originally from Calhoun, GA. He is founder of Southern Songwriter Magazine (www.southernsongwriter.com).

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