By now you probably know that Historic Oakland Foundation will soon be building its new Visitor Center, located right outside our main gate at 366 MLK Jr. Drive SE. We can’t wait to share lots of details about the project, but for now, wanted to give you an overview of what the building will be, who it’s for, when and how it will be built, and what the impacts will be to our visitors in the meantime.
First of all, it’s good to remember why we’re here to begin with: The (now rehabilitated) Oakland Bell Tower served us faithfully for 46 years as our offices and gift shop, but the time came for us to grow into a bigger space better positioned to serve the organization and the community.
We worked with our partners in the Parks Department and Invest Atlanta to secure a few parcels west of our main gate that have served as parking for the cemetery for several years. On this nearly-two acre piece of raw land, we’ll create a new visitor campus, adding enhanced parking, including EV charging, new passive park space, and the building itself. The around 10,000 square-foot building, designed by Smith Dalia Architects, will contain our enlarged gift shop, a large ballroom-style space for hosting educational programming, private, and community events, and the foundation offices.
We hope to break ground on the project during the middle of this year, with approximately two years to completion once we begin. During that time, guests can still visit Oakland and our temporary home and visitor center located at 273 Oakland Ave SE, just across the street from the new project site and immediately adjacent to the cemetery.