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Photos: the eerie beauty of Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery, at night

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An October ode to the final resting place of Margaret Mitchell, Bobby Jones, and many other souls

A night photo of creepy Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.
Skyrises occupied by the living ignite downtown Atlanta, as the mood in Oakland Cemetery is decidedly darker.
Photos: Jonathan Philips, Curbed Atlanta

What’s more October than a Victorian garden cemetery brimming with some 70,000 graves?

A Victorian garden cemetery after dark.

Named for its abundance of towering oaks, circa-1850 Oakland Cemetery is much more than a graveyard, tourist hotspot, and spooky setting for concert and beer-related events. It’s a botanical garden, wildlife habitat, sculpture garden, and the eternal resting place of prestigious Atlantans, alongside nearly 7,000 Confederate soldiers.

Notable residents include Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell, golf legend Bobby Jones, and more than two dozen past mayors of Atlanta, including Maynard Jackson, the city’s first African-American mayor.

Collectively, the cemetery describes its eternal tenants thusly: “The celebrated and humble rest together at Oakland. Tycoon and pauper, Christian and Jew, black and white, powerful and meek, soldier and civilian—all are here.”

Some unadorned markers say merely “INFANT.”

For this installment of Visual Journeys, have a nighttime gander around an Atlanta treasure that’s both dead quiet and vibrantly alive:

Oakland Cemetery is closed up tight for the night to keep things out ... or to keep them in.
Photos: Jonathan Philips, Curbed Atlanta
As if on cue, lightning ignites the night sky (and myrtles) at the main entrance to Oakland Cemetery off Oakland Avenue.
Multiple light sources create a spooky scene with rose-girded tombstones.
The Lynch family tombstone inside Oakland Cemetery.
This fearless magnolia stands sentry over graves all night.
At night, multiple light sources give Oakland’s tombstones an eerie iridescence.
Like a beacon from the mortal realm, the 191 Peachtree Tower peeks through trees behind tombstones.
The Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts of Cabbagetown can be seen beyond the tree-line surrounding the graves.
Tombstones cast crazy shadows at Oakland Cemetery.
The Elsas crypt at Oakland Cemetery overlooks Memorial Drive. Jacob Elsas, a noted philanthropist, was owner of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills.
Farewell, ye mortals of ATL.

[Note: Oakland Cemetery is locked and closed to the public at about 8 p.m. daily. Trespassing is, of course, illegal, and wasn’t required for this photo essay.]

Oakland Cemetery

248 Oakland Avenue Southeast, , GA 30312 Visit Website