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Restoring the Lynan-Berry Lot

Last week the PRO team began work on the Lynan-Berry lot, located at Block 321, Lot 3 on the East Hill. Headstones on the lot range from marble crosses to simpler marble slanted markers. The PRO team’s newest member, Reggie Brown, is working on this lot one row at a time.

First, all headstones in the row are removed so that the soil below them can be leveled and compacted with a tamp. Reggie then pours a small amount of gravel and places the stone back on top, using a string line, a line level, and a torpedo level to make sure the stones are perfectly aligned, level, and at the same height.

The larger cross on the lot, which belongs to Maria C. Lynan (d. 1905), needs more extensive treatment. It is comprised of two separate pieces: a “die” in the shape of a cross, and a rectangular base. The two pieces are not attached to one another at all, making this a dangerous headstone. We plan to attach the two pieces together using fiberglass rods and lime mortar. This method will make the headstone more stable but allows the pieces to be separated if necessary.

One of the smaller headstones that’s being reset belongs to Maria’s son, Harry Lynan. Lynan lived with his mother and sisters at 227 S. Pryor Street. A graduate of the Atlanta Boys’ High School, he worked as an entrepreneurial ticket broker in the rapidly-growing railroad hub from the age of 18, eventually operating out of offices of his own on Wall Street. In 1891, Lynan was taken on by Mr. A. J. McBride as a property broker and realtor, operating out of the Gate City National Bank on E. Alabama Street. A member of the Hibernian Rifles and evidently a young man about town who attended parties, dances, and picnics around the city, Lynan’s name appeared regularly in the society pages.

By 1894, unfortunately, Lynan had been suffering from consumption for over a year. After seeking healthier climes in California to aid his recovery, he returned to Atlanta but quickly became severely ill. He passed away in August of that year at the age of 28. Lynan was mourned in the Atlanta Constitution as “the most progressive and energetic young man of his age in Atlanta.” Mr. Lynan was given a full military funeral in Oakland Cemetery.

Tragically, his death would be followed less than a week later by that of his close companion, the “bright, social and entertaining” Mr. James Lynch Jr. The Atlanta Constitution noted how much time Harry and James had spent traveling the country together, as well as the “fervor of their strong friendship,” and that it was “not a little singular that when one of them was called the other should have followed him so early.” Mr. Lynch is also buried at Oakland.

Learn more about our restoration projects in Oakland’s East Hill section.


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