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Living History Capital Campaign

Your gift will help us restore this fragile piece of Atlanta’s history faster than ever before and expand our ability to share Oakland with all Atlantans.

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta’s first public greenspace, captures the true nature, history, and spirit of our city.

The preservation and perpetuation of Oakland have never been more important than it is today. The neighborhoods surrounding Oakland are enjoying a renaissance, developing on a scale unseen since the turn of the last century. As a result, the Cemetery’s visitation has increased, and its visibility has grown.

Historic Oakland Foundation has reached capacity. Without additional resources—staffing, space, and funding—restoration will continue at a pace at which the Cemetery might never be fully restored, and this fragile piece of Atlanta’s historic fabric will be lost to the ravages of time.

The Living History Capital Campaign will triple the rate of investment in the Cemetery over the next three years and develop facilities to expand the Foundation’s ability to share this unique asset with the whole city, commemorating its past and ensuring its future.

For further information on this project, including how your family’s name can live on at Oakland through a special recognition opportunity, please contact Executive Director Richard Harker at rharker@oaklandcemetery.com.

Our Goal: $14,000,000

Capital Campaign Projects

A New Visitor Center outside Oakland’s Gate

A new Visitor Center outside the gates will provide spaces for enhanced educational and public programming.

Rehabilitate Oakland’s Iconic 1899 Bell Tower

The Foundation completed its rehabilitation of the 1899 Oakland Bell Tower in November 2022, transforming it into a flexible event and meeting space.

Restore and Preserve Oakland’s East Hill

With campaign support, Historic Oakland Foundation will complete the restoration of the largest contiguous area of Oakland Cemetery to date.

[ultimate_modal modal_title=”A New Visitors Center” btn_size=”lg” btn_bg_color=”#ac430f” btn_bg_hover_color=”#b88640″ btn_text=”Learn More” modal_size=”medium” modal_style=”overlay-fade” overlay_bg_color=”rgba(27,108,103,0.19)” overlay_bg_opacity=”100″ content_bg_color=”#ffffff” header_bg_color=”#ffffff” img_size=”40″ img_close_background_color=”#1b6c67″ btn_txt_color=”#ffffff” header_font_size=”desktop:30px;” content_font_size=”desktop:17px;” content_line_height=”desktop:25px;”]A new Visitors Center outside the gates will provide spaces for enhanced educational and public programming to increase access to and awareness of the Cemetery.

Historic Oakland Foundation will redevelop the lots outside Oakland’s main gate on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive into a new Visitors Center with a greenspace plaza and flexible outdoor programmatic space, better integrating the Foundation into the surrounding community. This new land—a block from the King Memorial MARTA station—connects the Cemetery to the Memorial Drive Greenway and serves as a welcoming “front door” to Oakland Cemetery. The Foundation closed on the property in 2018.

At 10,000 square feet, the new building, designed by Smith-Dalia Architects, will allow for expanded and less weather-dependent programming while providing significant additional revenue to be invested in the Foundation’s mission. The Visitors Center will include:

• Retail Space: 1,000 square feet for a new Visitor Center and Gift Shop, including retail office and storage

• Common Area Space: 3,000 square feet to include student classrooms, a large conference room, restrooms, a breakroom, a small warehouse, and janitorial space

• Event Space: 3,000 square feet with a catering kitchen

• Office Space: 3,000 square feet for staff, along with conference rooms and meeting space

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[ultimate_modal modal_title=”Oakland Bell Tower Rehabilitation” btn_size=”lg” btn_bg_color=”#ac430f” btn_bg_hover_color=”#b88640″ btn_text=”Learn More” modal_size=”medium” modal_style=”overlay-fade” overlay_bg_color=”rgba(27,108,103,0.19)” overlay_bg_opacity=”100″ content_bg_color=”#ffffff” header_bg_color=”#ffffff” img_size=”40″ img_close_background_color=”#1b6c67″ btn_txt_color=”#ffffff” header_font_size=”desktop:30px;” content_font_size=”desktop:17px;” content_line_height=”desktop:25px;”]The Foundation rehabilitated Oakland’s 1899 Bell Tower building, with its gothic revival architecture, beautiful arched windows, exposed brick, transforming it into a flexible event and meeting space.

Built in 1899, the Oakland Bell Tower, the most recognizable building on Oakland’s grounds, served as the office for the Cemetery’s sexton. Prior to rehabilitation, this 2,800 square-foot structure continued as the sexton’s office but also housed Historic Oakland Foundation’s offices, meeting space, archives, a gift shop, storage, the Cemetery’s records, a visitor center, and public restrooms. Space was tight, and the historic building suffered from overuse. 

Rehabilitation of the building in 2022 by Smith-Dalia Architects opened up the first and second-floor spaces and focused on masonry repair; window restoration; new roofing, updated plumbing, electrical, and mechanical; and the addition of an elevator for greater accessibility and safety. Now complete, the Oakland Bell Tower features two floors of elegant event space, two spacious outdoor balconies overlooking the Cemetery and the Atlanta skyline, and a public restroom. The entire building is now ADA-compliant, with elevator access to the second floor.

Take a 360° virtual tour of the rehabilitated Oakland Bell Tower[/ultimate_modal]

[ultimate_modal modal_title=”East Hill Restoration and Preservation” btn_size=”lg” btn_bg_color=”#ac430f” btn_bg_hover_color=”#b88640″ btn_text=”Learn More” modal_size=”medium” modal_style=”overlay-fade” overlay_bg_color=”rgba(27,108,103,0.19)” overlay_bg_opacity=”100″ content_bg_color=”#ffffff” header_bg_color=”#ffffff” img_size=”40″ img_close_background_color=”#1b6c67″ btn_txt_color=”#ffffff” header_font_size=”desktop:30px;” content_font_size=”desktop:17px;” content_line_height=”desktop:25px;”]With campaign support, Historic Oakland Foundation will complete the restoration of the largest contiguous area of Oakland Cemetery to date.

The restoration and preservation of six acres of the East Hill section of Oakland Cemetery includes labor-intensive work focused on hardscape, landscape, and infrastructure. Ensuring that the burial grounds are restored to the level of their creation will require the work of master artisans such as blacksmiths, ironworkers, and stonemasons.

This preservation work will result in a more aesthetically pleasing and safer-feeling environment for visitors. The East Hill section will become one of the Cemetery’s most visible sections, offering new opportunities for interpretive programming for the Foundation. This project entails:

• Doubling the current rate of restoration and tripling the Foundation’s annual investment in the preservation and restoration of the Cemetery’s historic fabric

• Constructing an East Gate at the corner of Memorial and Boulevard (completed in 2020), increasing access to Oakland for the newly revitalized neighborhoods to the east and for those traveling to or from the BeltLine

• Restoring the 1908 Women’s Comfort Station, an important and fragile historic structure (completed in 2019)

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Capital Campaign Leadership

Valerie Jackson
Campaign Co-Chair
Former First Lady of Atlanta

May B. Hollis
Campaign Co-Chair
Community Volunteer

Tom Aderhold, Aderhold Properties; Doug Aldridge, Wells Fargo; Norman Asher, Rich’s/Macy’s (Retired); Donna G. Barwick, Attorney; Rabbi Peter Berg, The Temple; Sara Chapman, The Westminster Schools; George Dusenbury, Trust for Public Land; Mary Ellen Imlay, The Imlay Foundation; Robert T. Jones IV, Psychologist; Kelly Jordan, Community Volunteer; Mark B. Riley, Urban Realty Partners; The Honorable Leah Ward Sears, Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP; S. Zachry Young, Wesleyan School (Retired)

Photo courtesy of w. scott chester photography.

Our Capital Campaign in the News

Articles

Council Member Bakhtiari Visits Oakland Cemetery Visitor Center

Council member Liliana Bakhtiari and Patrick Husbands from her staff accompanied Historic Oakland Foundation executive…

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Visitor Center Construction Update: June 2024

Oakland’s new Visitors Center is coming along! Brick now covers the exterior, the massive windows…

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Visitor Center Construction Update: March 2024

HOF Executive Director Richard Harker and Director of Capital Projects Neale Nickels update us on…

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Visitor Center Construction Update: February 2024

HOF Executive Director Richard Harker and Director of Capital Projects Neale Nickels update us on…

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