Within the jumble of letters, you’ll find some of our famous residents and various other features and facets of historic Oakland Cemetery.
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BOBBY JONES – Considered the greatest amateur golfer of all time, Bobby Jones won golf’s Grand Slam (all four major tournaments of his era in a single year) in 1930. Jones was also an Atlanta attorney and co-founder and co-designer of the Augusta National Golf Club, site of the annual Masters Tournament.
ANGEL – Often seen depicted in funerary art, angels are a symbol of death and resurrection. An uplifted hand shows the way to heaven.
ORIGINAL SIX – The “original six” acres of land acquired in 1850 from A. W. Wooding to build Oakland Cemetery (originally named Atlanta City Cemetery). Beginning at the main gate on Oakland Avenue, this section includes the south public grounds, slave square, and the original public grounds which contained many unmarked graves.
WEDDING – Oakland is a place to celebrate life, death, and new beginnings! The cemetery hosts an average of 12 weddings a year.
DAFFODILS – This spring-flowering perennial bloomer is prevalent throughout Oakland cemetery. It is a member of the amaryllis family.
SEXTON – A person who looks after a church and churchyard, sometimes acting as bell-ringer and formerly as a gravedigger. Oakland Cemetery has had many sextons, and many of them are buried at Oakland. Our current sexton, Sam Reed has been the caretaker of Oakland Cemetery since 1998.
SELENA BUTLER – Georgia Women of Achievement honoree and co-founder of the National PTA. There is a portrait of Mrs. Butler hanging in the Capitol Building.
HEADSTONE – A slab of stone set up at the head of a grave and typically inscribed with the name of the dead person.
BISHOP GAINES – Former enslaved person, second pastor of Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and founder of Morris Brown College.
MAYNARD JACKSON – The first African American mayor of Atlanta.
POTTERS FIELD – A potter’s field, paupers’ grave or common grave is a place for the burial of unknown, unclaimed or indigent people.
VAULT – A stone- or brick-lined underground space or ‘burial‘ chamber for the interment of a dead body or bodies.
BELL TOWER – Built in 1899, the first floor originally housed a chapel and an office for the sexton, with living quarters for the sexton and his or her family on the second floor. Today, the Bell Tower serves as the Visitors Center & Museum Store. Historic Oakland Foundation offices are on the second floor.
MONUMENT – A statue or other structure placed by or over a grave in memory of the dead.
FOUNTAIN – Oakland’s “Out in the Rain” fountain was made by J.L. Mott Ironworks Company of New York. This fountain is a replica of the one displayed at the 1876 U.S. Centennial Celebration. The City of Atlanta paid $101 for the cast-iron statue in 1913. A renovation in the mid-2000s cost $10,000.
OAKS – An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus of the beech family, Fagaceae. The many “forest oaks” of the original cemetery inspired the City Council to bequeath Oakland its name.