After more than 100 years, visitors to Oakland Cemetery will once again be able to enter the grounds from the corner of Boulevard and Memorial Drive.
Historic Oakland Foundation has announced that it will reconstruct the East Gate this summer to restore the graveyard’s connection with the Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown neighborhoods.
The original East Gate was installed along Boulevard in 1899 and, after much debate, closed by Atlanta’s Cemetery Commission in 1908 for safety reasons. At the time, locals were unhappy about having to walk nearly a mile to the main gate, which now sits at the end of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (then known as Hunter Street). A compromise was reached by opening a gate on Decatur Street along the railroad tracks. The East Gate gate was eventually removed when the retaining wall was rebuilt.
A portion of the existing brick wall on Oakland’s southern border will be deconstructed, and salvaged bricks will be used in the new gateway. Two brick columns capped with granite will frame an opening spanned by a double swing gate modeled Oakland’s historic gates.
The new access point will be located near the site of the old East Gate, making it easier for visitors coming from the Atlanta BeltLine and the neighborhoods surrounding the cemetery. In addition to the new gate, this area will see the introduction of new user amenities including park benches, pet stations, and wayfinding signage, along with significant restoration efforts to improve visitors’ experience and safety.
The construction of the East Gate is part of a larger effort by Historic Oakland Foundation to make improvements to the East Hill section of the Cemetery. Historic Oakland Foundation has received funding for this project through the Aderhold Family Foundation and a Park Pride Community Building Grant (supported by The Home Depot Foundation). The Foundation is proud to partner with these two organizations that represent the Atlanta communities served by Oakland Cemetery.
For more information about Historic Oakland Foundation and its restoration and preservation work, visit http://oaklandcemetery.com.