Preservation and Restoration
Our primary mission is to restore and preserve Atlanta’s most complex historic artifact.
Oakland’s gravestones, burial plots, mausoleums, funerary art and architecture, hardscape, and supporting infrastructure are the collective historic record of the cemetery and of many of Atlanta’s former residents. In many respects Oakland’s gravestones reflect the only record of residents’ lives, their familial relationships, and their lasting impact on Atlanta’s cultural landscape.
Historic Oakland Foundation has successfully restored eight acres of hardscape in the last 40 years (1977-2017), primarily in the Original Six Acres and Bell Tower Ridge areas. Guided by our twenty-year master plan and a desire to accelerate our restoration efforts, we have prioritized the restoration of another eight acres in the next five years (2017-2021).
Projects on our to-do list for these next eight acres include completing the African American Grounds, completing the southwestern corner of the Old Cemetery (the Original Six Acres), and restoring 60% of the East Hill area. The work of maintaining all the structures throughout the cemetery through varying levels of intervention is an ongoing process undertaken by our PRO Team. Historic Oakland Foundation undertakes this ongoing work so that Oakland can continue to enhance the lives of our community and be shared with generations to come.
48 Total Acres
34 Acres Left to Restore
7 Historic Structures to Preserve
2 Proposed Buildings to Support HOF’s Mission
43.5 Million Dollars of Proposed Capital Improvements
How We Do It
Historic Oakland Foundation’s PRO Team is integral to the historic preservation and restoration of the cemetery and handles most of the hardscape preservation and operations work.
There are many degrees of historic preservation happening at Oakland at any given time. The first degree of physical preservation is to stabilize structures in their current condition in order to mitigate hazards or threats, for example, leveling a tombstone at risk of falling. Critical projects have immediate needs that threaten their integrity as a historic resource or the safety of visitors. They range from small, badly broken headstones to dangerously-leaning obelisks weighing several thousand pounds. Critical restoration’s goal is to identify fragile, dangerous, or visually intrusive monuments and walls and mitigate the problem before they cause harm or break. So far in 2018 the Historic Oakland Foundation has allotted $10K to critical restoration needs.
A second type of preservation is restoration, which involves intervening to return a monument, headstone, or structure to its original appearance or condition, for example, recreating a missing piece of a broken monument using specialized materials. Hardscape restoration at Oakland includes monuments, gravestones, mausoleums, stairs, walls, coping, walkways, and buildings.
Follow the PRO Team on Instagram for a behind the scenes photos and videos of what they are working on this month. Hover over the images below to see their latest posts.
Meet Historic Oakland Foundation GIS intern and GSU graduate student Lindsey Goff. Here, Lindsey describes her work attempting to match burial records with unmarked graves in Oakland's historic African American Burial Grounds. At the beginning of 2021, I became a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) intern…
Current and Completed Projects
The Oakland Foundation Master Plan
In 2008 Historic Oakland Foundation oversaw the development of a twenty-year master plan to provide a framework for continued organizational growth and cemetery restoration efforts until 2028. The master plan addresses Oakland’s needs in response to redevelopment around the cemetery, as well as additional challenges within its walls. It reviews Oakland’s current conditions supported by new research and analysis with prioritized recommendations for implementation.
Help Fund a Project
Each donation brings us closer to achieving our goal to restore eight acres by 2021. Partner with us on a project you are passionate about! When you donate, tell us what are the money should go towards under “Donation Purpose”.