By Angie Wynne
This summer, Historic Oakland Foundation will construct a new pedestrian gate near the corner of Boulevard and Memorial Drive. After more than a hundred years, visitors will once again be able to enter from the eastern side of the cemetery. Once finished, the new East Gate will offer easier access to the cemetery for residents of Cabbagetown, Reynoldstown, and Grant Park, as well as for those coming from the BeltLine.
The original gate was installed along Boulevard in 1899 and, after much debate, closed by Atlanta’s Cemetery Commission in 1908. The new access point will be located near the site of the former gate, in keeping with historic precedent, and will allow a high volume of visitors to access the cemetery without having to walk to the pedestrian gate further to the west on Memorial Drive.
The construction of the East Gate is part of a larger effort to make improvements to the East Hill section of the cemetery. The gate will make visiting the East Hill, Jewish Hill, the African American Burial Grounds, and Potter’s Field more convenient. This project also includes the introduction of wayfinding signage to help orient visitors coming through the gate, interpretive panels, benches, and pet stations to add to the visitor experience. The anticipated completion date is summer 2020.
Historic Oakland Foundation Co-Executive Director Dr. Richard Harker said, “Knowing the incredible value that parks and green space provide to individuals and communities, we are thrilled to be able to expand access to historic Oakland Cemetery and provide visitors from the east a new way to enter and exit the park.”
For more information, or to contribute to this landmark effort, visit Historic Oakland Foundation’s website: www.OaklandCemetery.com/EastGate.