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How do you add something new to something old?

Historic sites are not necessarily fixed.  As a historic AND active cemetery we must respect lot owners and descendants and their current needs with deference and sensitivity to the past.  As such, change and progress here at Oakland are commonplace.  This blog will discuss one type of change:  the process of adding a new wall to an existing plot, surrounded by historic monuments.
There are a lot of considerations when adding to an existing historic site.  The Foundation encourages lot owners to match the material in the immediate area: type of stone or masonry (brick, granite, and marble, to name a few), tooling of the stone, and tooling of the mortar.  Tooling simply means the finished look of the stone.  Is it polished, rough-cut, wire-cut?  The tooling of the mortar is its finished look: flushed joint, rope joint, or concave joint, among others.  How does one enter the lot? Are stairs needed?  After a design is settled upon, it must then be reviewed by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission (AUDC).
Each commission member is allowed to make comments and suggestions about the project.  There are three actions the AUDC may take: it may require more information- and request another review, a project may be denied, or it may be approved. The AUDC application and review process is laid out in detail here.
Once approved by the AUDC, the build process begins. A concrete footer, which supports the masonry wall, is dug and poured.  Then the stone is installed, using the predetermined finish and joint style.  The mortar used for the new walls is modern, meaning it contains portland cement. Historic mortars typically were lime based.   As this wall is new, there is no need to use historic type mortar, though every effort is made to match the color and consistency of the surrounding historic masonry.  As with all construction, drainage must be considered.  Gravel is placed behind the wall, and weep holes are drilled through the mortar.  This allows water to drain, and pressure to remain normal, preventing the wall from failing.  The plot is then returned to its normal state, with the suitable landscaping.
Cemeteries change and evolve as people do.  Our goal at Oakland is to make those changes as sensitively and appropriately as possible.

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